Happenings at Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery
This is a combination of two art works — Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery by Lee Kang-so & Life Circuit by Urich Lau and Teow Yue Han.
Disappearance, Bar in the Gallery
Disappearance Bar in the Gallery is a remake of an interactive installation by Lee Kang-so from 1973. The idea behind the work is its juxtaposition of the bar and the gallery. The gallery is usually quiet, with people silently looking at works and admiring them while the Korean traditional pub (chumak) is full of life and energy. Lee replicated the look of a bar in the gallery and allowed the audience to engage in the work by having drinks & snacks and being part of the exhibition.
A piece of performance art by INTER—MISSION (Urich Lau and Teow Yue Han), Life Circuit brings the analogue and digital together. During the performance, Lau wears “gadgets reconstructed from industrial safety equipment – welding goggles, gas mask and earmuffs.”
Instead of aiding him like how technology usually aids us, these gadgets impairs his senses but also allows the audience to see from his perspective through the screen on the goggles. This forms a “circuit” between the artist, the gadgets and the audience. Additionally, Teow also carries a camera around that captures and projects himself and what he sees.
According to Teow, the performance in the bar in the gallery consisted of two parts that were performed over a duration of two nights. Most of us went for the first night, where a lot of footage was generated (A livestream of a google hangout of someone walking towards Shibuya crossing was projected, The images captured by Lau while he was walking around wearing the gadgets were converted into sound, etc.)
Teow mentioned that the second night would be live dancers responding to the footage shot in the first night, showing a continuity of the work with input and output.
When I first reached the venue, I was quite confused as to what was going on. There were people seated at the tables and chairs and different screens and projector showing different things. At first I didn’t know that it was a bar in the gallery and I thought it was a stage and the people seated were all performers (which technically wasn’t wrong since the audience are also part of the performance since its an interactive piece). After reading the description of the installation, I realised what was going on and proceeded to look at the projector. It was showing streets (taken from the livestream hangouts) , the audiences and Teow’s face (taken from the camera attached to Teow). I thought it was quite interesting, including the audiences in the performance by using footages of them and it shows the perspective of both the audience and the artist. As for Lau’s gadgets, I think they were quite interesting and thought they actually helped him to navigate around in some way but it turns out that he was doing it by himself. Overall, I didn’t really understand the meaning of the artwork even after doing research on it but it may have helped if I went for the second night of the performance.