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Kai‐Oi
Jay
Yung:

 Amongst
Dark
Trees,
A
Clearing


19th
Jan
–
9th
Mar
2013











www.grundyartgallery.com



 Grundy
Art
Gallery’s
annual
 communities
and
schools
 exhibition
has
this
year
invited
 artist
Kai‐Oi
Jay
Yung
to
create
 Amongst
Dark
Trees,
A
Clearing.
 This exhibition is a multi-sensory exploration of uncanny narratives in suffering, loss and hope including videos, drawings, and sound responsive light works by Yung with elements created by schools and the wider public. The four gallery spaces have been transformed into a stimulatory site that triggers sensory interactions with the viewer whilst moving through transitional environments of alienation, anxiety, hope and possible inner clearing. In video works, we encounter voices of conflict and resolution through an excessive compulsive hoarder, trauma psychologists and a satirical stand-up comedian. In one film a meditation savant offers a chance for viewers to join in with contemplative guided meditation, whilst disco lighting is used to create a mesmerising interpretation of psychotherapy hypnosis. Yung interprets various belief systems - from scientific chromatic healing treatments to notions of the mystical energy chakras. In the ‘clearing’ of the main gallery space, we hear a collective sound piece composed from public recordings sent to Yung of the monosyllabic sanskrit sounds- ohm, yam, ram, lam… each linked to seven bodily chakras and believed to purify body and mind. The public is invited to add harmonies and interplay with this sound piece to create a live harmonic mantra that pervades the gallery, from a semi-concealed confession booth. These sounds unexpectedly trigger a visual display of neoncoloured light rays and patterns immersing fellow viewers in ambient warm light tones. In response to Yung’s call out, the Mottos In Thread are intricate hand-sewn mottos sent in by people of all ages and locations. This collection of fragile, personal self-taught wisdoms expressing intergenerational saying including ‘Worse Things Happen At Sea, by a 68 year old St Annes resident recollecting boats from the West Indies bringing bananas to Preston to ‘a beautiful grey horse called Titus who chucked its rider and ran off only to drown as the tide rushed up under the sand’ to a salvaged slip of a wedding dress from a first marriage. Throughout the exhibition are intimate personal tasks which invite the viewer share their thoughts and make simple line drawings of their most vivid memories opposite Yung’s drawings which depict imagined contraptions for self-hypnosis and cure from mental and physical distress. A bodily drip composed of an organ and Chinese Konghou strings in A-PS Device Vii String Dialysis Pointer connects the patient’s body to a rotating disc whilst heating bodily fluids to measure thanatophobia (fear of death) syndrome levels. “Arthur Miller said that ‘possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people's suffering’.... Human discontent has increasingly become less a matter for spiritual, moral, or philosophical consideration, than for biological, behavioural, political, or psychiatric understanding and intervention.... There is no such thing as suffering that befalls us ‘out of nowhere'... suffering is always meaningful in the person’s life and is always trying to tell us something about our existence.” Anthony T. Morgan in ‘On Suffering’, interview conducted with the artist. On Suffering is available in gallery and on Yung’s website http://jayyung.wordpress.c om/

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THIS
 EXHIBITION
 CONTAINS
 SOME
 FLASHING
 LIGHTS


2

Works 

1/
Light
installation:
Maladaptive
Scale
Lights, 44.5x77x16.7cm, 2013 Composed of three sound responsive neon lights, alongside Passings, they respond to the viewer’s actions and behaviours in real time and forge Yung’s interpretations of the psychological EDMR treatment, subject of Events of The Day. The brilliant red beam seek to embalm the space in warmth, intimacy and focus, whilst a second green and third blue invokes compassion and release from Nigel’s claustrophobia. The sound sensitive lights respond to the movement and stimuli both from the viewer and Nigel’s voice but lay inert until otherwise triggered.

2/
A
Plan
for
Nigel


Video, 10 Minutes 22 seconds, 2013 A Plan for Nigel sequences the uncanny, unsettling account of Nigel, a severe ex-hoarder and accumulation of four traumatic events that converged into the ultimate estrangement from his own psychological self and physical surroundings. Following the artist’s investigations into psychosis and the unseen in the figure of Sarah Winchester- Amnesia, A Rehearsal, Yung now points to the psychoanalyst’s role in her conversation with Nigel, re-contextualised with expert insight from three psychologists. Yung directs an unexpected script that plays out as each personage appears, framing the impetus of one man’s dark sufferings into a coherent plot despite the very separate interviews filmed in disparate timeframes, locations and contexts. The circular editing pre-empts the wider diagnosis, treatment, ontological and scientific praxis of trauma, applying textbook generics to accentuate the very vivid, breakdown of Nigel’s suffering. The visceral details of his experience seep the extent of his implausible horror to the eventual cadence of viewer satisfied resolve and conclusive hope. Through the editing timeline, Yung is afforded the tool to offer a conclusive present truth, sparing viewer from certain aspects of Nigel’s unsavory story that he himself is unable to assuage from his memory. 


3/
Events
of
the
Day

Video, 1Minute 6 seconds, 2013 Events of The Day inverts the patient into role of healer in this annotation of trauma response therapy. Nigel’s description of his prescribed psychotherapy treatment itself becomes mesmeric instigator for viewer to exercise the presence of mindfulness within the gallery site and narrative. The light pulsations and patterns emulate the instructional rhythmic techniques behind the scientific physiological sequencing of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR) treatment. Here though, they are re-enacted by the artist’s cheap disco lighting and point to ubiquitous self-diagnosis and help toolkits through the absurdity of the disco light that features itself in the sound responsive light installation Passings. However, Yung also activates the participant’s senses, mirroring the hypnotic effects also examined in her Auto-Psychometric Suffering Device drawing series and the individual’s self-control of the healing process, suggestive of potential empowerment from mental blockages through such medical procedures.

4/
Mottos
In
Thread
Mixed media, various dimensions, 2013 Yung’s call out for Mottos in Thread- No Stitch Too Elaborate, No Letter Too Wonky! invited the public to embroider, sew or knit their life motto into scrap fabric and embellish it with small trinkets. Previous projects Sock Exchange and Happy Stacking similarly offered opportunities to revisit lost or forgotten handcraft skills and chance to salvage readily discarded materials. Mottos in Thread plays homage to the intricate needle works created by women in concentration camps as witness to their suffering during Holocaust. These Mottos in Thread offer legacy for the public’s personal self-taught wisdoms and inherited habits- each stitch time for reflection, a contributive gesture towards a collection of aphorisms and shared commonalities. The act of sewing, coloured thread and details of each works links these tactile fragments to Nigel’s story of loss and trauma in A Plan for Nigel. His compulsion to hoard and treasured sewing machine collection and items salvaged from charity shops mirror the intimacy and historical value of the materials employed- such as a slip of a wedding dress. 


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5/
Memory
Drawings


Yung’s call out to schools and the wider public to send in drawings of their most vivid memories to be projected onto the gallery wall. This is also an opportunity for visitors to contribute their memories by creating a simple line drawing and placing it on the OHP for the next person to find. 


6/
The
Auto‐Psychometric
Suffering
Devices

Drawings on paper, 2013 A series of twelve drawings depicting various hypnosis inducing contraptions. The imagined contraptions hypnotise and entrance a patient suffering from deep rooted or surface physical and mental distress. The devices vary in their operation, outcomes and purposes- some measure, record, others register and distract. Once activated by the clinician, the patient enters an altered psychological state that pierces the source of pain/displeasure mentally. Following two or three repeated intensive sessions, the individual experiences appeasement and eventual eradication of any discomfort despite further external exacerbation or memory triggering. Mechanism A-PS Device Vii String Dialysis Pointer obtains psychometric readings for thanatophobia (fear of death) synodrome. It forms almost a bodily drip composed of an organ and Konghou strings, perhaps connecting patient’s body to a rotating disc whilst heating the patient’s bodily fluids to measure the reading. Ix Crossed Wire Contraptor is surgical, a burst of excruciating pain results from the patients molar interface with the electrical impulses generated by the cross-wires, counterbalanced by the small stone- a regulatory re-adjuster for hysteria. Triangular Disc’s humble simplicity dates to Man Ray’s Rayographs and may prevent verbal stuttering whilst … Iii Dial Trapper’s trigger spins the cog to boost serotonin levels. Fragile, cumbersome and comedic in their impossibility- can the floppy handless glove of Vi Perception Slicer permeate the episodic buffer and unblock memory. 


7/
Light
installation:
Electric
Blue
and
Orange
Luster


Lights, 135x3cm, 2013 Interaction with the neon luminous orange is believed to offer freedom, sociability and liberation from nausea and alienation in relation to Nigel’s acts and neurosis, whilst the electric blue is symbolic of individual agency independence and inviting viewer to open chest and mind, to share and project thoughts, desires and fears. 


8/
7
Circles,
Passings,
Passing
Station


7 Circles, Soundpiece, 9 minutes 16 seconds, 2013 Yung made an international call out for participants to send in their recordings of them uttering the one-syllable sounds of the Sanskrit Bija seed mantras lam, ram, yam, ohm. The recordings received varied in tone, duration and pitch and were from people of all ages, backgrounds and locations. Yung edits them into a collective harmonic voice piece pervading the gallery, interspersed with samples of instruments to consider variations in scale and Pythagoras’ ‘harmony of the spheres’. 7 circles intermittently fills the gallery with the choruses and vocals of the audience and further interacts with the sound-responsive light installation Passings in real time. This sound piece extends the artist’s examination of pathological phenomenon and how it manifests and locates itself within the mind and physical body. The mono-syllabic sounds are believed to resonate with and activate the body’s seven energy chakras when uttered aloud, purifying and balancing mind and body. In the gallery, this links to the recurring mantras featuring in the video works and echoes the meditative rhythmic behind Breathe. Passings, Light installation, 2013, Passings Station , wooden structure, fabric curtain and microphone, Mottos In Thread, 2013 Passings, sound responsive light installation directly interacts with the viewer’s voice and transforms the gallery into light waves and hypnotic pattern. From the discreet microphone in the Passings Station, the viewer may outlet their personal thoughts, emotions and blockages, hidden from fellow viewers. This then triggers and activates vibrant patterns of red, green, blue and white to dance across and animate the gallery space for all to experience. Circular in sequencing, they reinforce the subtle reiteration of the chakras energy centres, and enables the viewer to embed the gallery with their own stories or repeat the mantras from the 7 Circles voices. Each expulsion of the inner breath becomes visual exhalation, making visible the sequence of actions and consequences from one person to another and from internal to external.


 


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9/Light
installation:
Corona

Polyethylene, 50x50x50cms, 2013 Corona imbues Gallery Two as a pure and silent space for contemplation and mental clearing. The globe sits quietly, subtly spanning the entire chromatic spectrum for the restful sensory absorption of the viewer. Its ebbing glow emulates the circadian rhythms of the viewer’s breathing perhaps quickened by Nigel’s anxiety or alleviated by Breathe’s meditative trance. Each transient hue is reminiscent of light and colour as a basic human need for sensory interaction. At once its perceptionsoftness, tone, intensity, stimulatory effect is shaped by the viewer’s individual physiological make-up and how we perceive colour differently one to other. Together with the drawings, objects, the chromatic light works converge the tensions and visual/contextual undulations addressed across the four video works, transforming specific points in the gallery into space for sensory, mental and physical clearing. 


10/Breathe


Video, 8 minutes 49 seconds Breathe continues Yung’s examination of our unrequited spiritual resolve and truth through quasi-divinatory figures such as a Buddhist Monk- Ordained, Interview with A Tarot Master; Phillipe Camoin, creator of the Tarot De Marseille deck to a face reader and Feng Shui expert. In Breathe, onlookers become part of the instructional video as they follow a meditative breathing exercise. The mesmeric, guiding mantra conducted by a follower of Sri Chimnoi Meditation, herself a ‘searcher’, sat crossed-legged, looks out to the curious viewer and invites transplantation into a timeless present. ‘Focus on your breath… imagine you’re breathing in infinite peace”- chance to enter an elevated consciousness, towards divine soul-mind oneness. The associated paraphernalia; candle, opulent carpet, lowly dubbed Ohm chanting- point to the body’s proposed chakra energy flows and envelops viewer into possible warming mindfulness reinforcing Yung’s sound interactive light works- Passings and Corona. The equally seeking onlooker may ‘feel the river of joy coming into you’, they are afforded a much sought time and space to release confines of external time, to undo internal conflict and outlet for blockages ‘when you breath out, imagine you are exhaling all your sadness, frustration and depression’. The time spent offers reassurance that hope and meaning can be located from within ‘love and joy are always in your heart… waiting for you to discover them’. However, there is a disquietude threatening exacerbation of our internal anxiety as we recognise such reprieve as a mere interlude to daily living, unless greater transformation is risked throughout the way the societies organize themselves. 


11/ You
Don’t
Actually
Die
Video, 16 minutes 16 seconds, 2013
 What
Happens
When
The
Bank
Runs
Out
of
Money Video, 6 minutes 42 seconds, 2013

Film of comedian David T. Hyde who confronts viewer with personal, political and philosophical satirical material related, challenging viewer’s optimism and propensity to see the silver lining in life’s obstacles. His direct, raw and astute anecdotal scenarios are at once cutting social criticisms thrusting viewer into difficult identification with unvoiced, repressed issues of contention concerning mortality to family values, addiction, personality disorders and economic downturn. His elaborate perspectives to self-imposed conundrums are energetic, bare expositions of the topical- allegories of Monopoly in What happens when the bank runs out of money? to unexpected inverted aphorisms It’s Not What You Look At That Matters, It’s What You See. Yung’s re-edited sequencing mirrors the circular monologue detected in the comedian’s retorts; dislodged from the usual live stand-up interchange, the dramatic and prophetic impetus of each delivery compounds uncomfortable viewing in style and subject. Yung intersperses the very exterior rehearsed delivery of his self-scripted ‘act’ with conversation excerpts that reveal deeper inner conflicts, fears and fixations unrevealed to the audience. The darker truths of ‘howling’ and need for self-validation echoes existential preoccupations of the art process and heightens the tragic of any ensuing humour or evasion from identification.

NB: Due to the illicit nature of some of David’s language, only an edited clip will be shown during the exhibition as What Happens When the Bank Runs Out of Money , 6 minutes 42 seconds, the entire film You Don’t Actually Die will be shown in a public screening on the 23rd February 2-4pm and 6th March, 6-8pm 2013.


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Wooden shelf, paper and pens, 2013 Yung asks What is the most difficult thing you have done? providing paper and pens for viewers of all ages to share a life experience however significant or trivial and pin up for the next person to discover.

12/
Difficult
Thing


On
Suffering


Essay, 2013 A text based conversation on the subject of trauma and illness in relation to the body and mind conducted by artist Kai-Oi Jay Yung with Anthony T. Morgan, lecturer, philosopher and researcher in philosophy as applied to the field of psychiatry. Available at http://jayyung.wordpress.com/ or on request to yung_jay@hotmail.com



 
 With
Thanks…
 


To the members of public, communities and schools who contributed Mottos In Thread and sound recordings towards the sound piece 7 Circles. Schools include: Arnold KEQMS, St.Nicholas Primary School, Park Special School, Woodlands Special School, Devonshire Primary School and Our Lady’s of the Assumption Primary School. Special thanks also extends to Anthony T. Morgan, David T. Hyde, Mo Murphy, Nigel, Shamil Wanigaratne, Laura Kemmis, Helen Caird and John Holland.

Amongst
Dark
Trees,
A
Clearing
is
supported
using
public
funding
by
Arts
Council
England.


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