Luke Ching Chin Wai, Weather Report: Liquified Sunshine, 2014-2015
In this video work, conceived as a diptych, we see two films that mirror one another compositionally. Both begin with a close crop of the rain pounding the ground and then cycle through a series of establishing shots to reveal a particular museum as the location in each video. The first is the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei and the second, the Hong Kong Museum of Art. As this weather event evolves, and the cinematic framing reveals more and more context, we begin to suspect the authenticity of the scene. Men in yellow waterproofs shoot super-soaker water pistols from the windows, others are using large hoses to wet the signage and exterior walls of the museum. We see visitors to the gallery use yellow and blue umbrellas to shield themselves from the water and finally, the widest, fish-eye lens angle reveals that huge, municipal water trucks are providing the rain and that the heavy weather is isolated to the entrance of the museum only. Some spectators can be seen keeping dry outside of the perimeter, while others take the umbrellas and experience the artificial rainstorm more fully as participants in the work. A number of metaphors are at play here and they subtly comment on the politics of the region in ways that remain discrepant to the conflicts. The umbrella is the symbol of recent political unrest, yellow is the colour of recent democratic movements in both Taiwan and Hong Kong, and the cannons themselves are deployed as a tool of state policing and demonstration management. Even typhoons feature in common folklore as something controlled by the richest man in the region - a fable known as ‘Li’s Field’.
It is telling that these allegories coalesce around the museum - a supposedly benign institutional good, where cultural and political forces are rendered visible in neutral ways. This unnatural weather event perhaps questions that premise and asks what role art might play in this scenario.
|Medium||Dual channel video|
|Duration||3 minutes 40 seconds|
|Edition||of 5 + 1 AP|