Anchor and A Loose Thread — 錨，和懸絲
Two-channel video installation
Dancers: Tso Han-Jie 左涵潔 and Mimi Chang 張心瑜
Sound Design: Supina Bytol and Conor O’Hanlon
Installation view at Young Art Space, Pier 2 Art Center
This project was created during an artist residency at Pier 2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Supported by Pier 2 Art Center, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government and Ministry of Culture (Taiwan)
To remember is to have an anchor for your belonging. Anchor and A Loose Thread explores elements of memory, its condition within the body and its image when materialised. In collaboration with dancers Tso Han Jie and Mimi Chang, Nikki Lam’s two-channel video examines the contradictory and entangled relationships between memories, the body and their records, both from within and through image documentation.
Anchor and A Loose Thread continues the artist's research into post-colonial hybridity through personal and collective memories. The work describes an exchange of memories between artist Nikki Lam and dancers Tso Han Jie and Mimi Chang. Lam drew on her personal histories of a multi-faceted identity (Hong Kong / Australian), and her ongoing investigations into the concept of belonging and remembering. Using elements such as object, site and poetry as provocations, Tso and Chang were invited to respond with movements from the past, reimagined, as well as gestures developed then and there, improvised.
Through rigorous translations at every part of the process—from English to Cantonese to Chinese, Lam is particularly interested in the untranslatable details. Repeatedly framing and re-framing Tso and Chang’s movements, either through shooting or editing, fragments of their memories are constantly re-considered. Between the artists, this process of materialising memory become a group exercise of recordings and translations. Of these records, historical sites such as Cijin Fort and Zongye stood quietly in reference to Taiwan’s past, while Tso and Chang personal stories informed their movements in relation to these locations. Stitching together a disjointed narrative, these elements question our ways to remember and to forget. A sort of remembering that echoes our/my/their memory through the looking glass.
Such is the post-colonial condition of memory.
How does memory materialise within the body?
After multiple translations
My memory is left with small, delicate gestures
Familiar sensation within my joints
Sensation, that is forgotten
As you try to remember, molecules from the past find each other to form a cluster. A compilation of fragmented elements such as scent, sound and colours gather, and warp in our minds as time passes. Instead of a solid and consistent image, the cluster reflects only with your thoughts in the now. Every time you recall an image, your body and mind create a new, current form of that memory. The current form off that memory is a version that is almost disposable, an unique one-off. How it happened is no longer relevant. It is temporal and impermanent. When we try to capture such image through the camera lens, it is at once framed, shifted, defined, becomes its very own record.
Never repetition, only imagined records of the many pasts.
Translation assisted by Betty Yang.