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Light Conversation

Performance art video

Performative video 3 min loop


Light Conversation was a part of a research project where I explored my waning culture (Peranakan), particularly the perception towards its cultural materials. Using a reimagined Ji Seh (n) lantern that were and still are occasionally being displayed outside the homes of the Peranakan Chinese in Southeast Asia, I started a three-way intergenerational (my mother, son, and myself) conversation facilitated by Zoom communication, from two geographical locations and time zones, Singapore, and UK (where I am currently based). The interaction was further developed into a video piece. The lantern dominates most of the video, its flickering images of three people appear like a burning flame within the lantern.


The conversation centres around the purpose and use of the Ji Seh(n) lantern and the implications of continuing this cultural tradition. The photographs in the video were collected from my own family. They were taken from my grandmother’s funeral and hidden away for over 40 years, probably due to superstition. Other images include extracts from a 60-year-old notebook my mother had kept. The book contains 303 improvised pantuns (poems) she co-created with her childhood friends in Malaysia, and the audio features her reading of selected poems in the language of Malay. Although self-explanatory, the title of the work is ironic, given the weightiness of the subject.

mum's book 13-20_edited.jpg
mum's book 300-303_edited.jpg
mum's pantun 29-26_edited.jpg
mum's book 220-227_edited.jpg
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