Das Platforms / Contemporary Art

Ka-Yin Kwok: Congee

09:33 (Extract)

24 Jul 2012


"Congee documents the lunches I have with my father on Sundays in the course of a year, beginning in April 2010. Congee is a rice porridge dish. At my parent’s house, congee is usually accompanied with a range of pickled vegetables, pork floss and soy sauce. "The focus of the work is the conversation between my father and I. Over the course of our Sunday congee lunches, the Kwok family home is undergoing an extension. Meanwhile, I have moved houses with my boyfriend Ben and cat Gogo. The continuity of congee and banal conversation is slowly disrupted by the physical transformation of the room. "I chat to my father in Cantonese - a dialect that at times I struggle with. Consequently, despite an intimate setting we are at times distant. An undercurrent of unspoken emotional tension and concern for one another simmers beneath the surface and often spills over awkwardly during off-topic chatting in a way that is made clear through the filming process. The transitions between the collated footage in the final work will equally reflect the fractured communication at the kitchen table. "Congee continues my practice of autobiographic documentary works featuring my family and I. The series is a contemplation of family, culture, ritual and home. Similar to my previous work Lessons (2005), Congee also features my father and I within a confined space, discussing everyday banalities. "My videos use documentary techniques to explore the participant and director relationship. I often include myself in the narrative, whether onscreen or through sound. This inclusion is a self-reflexive devise, which makes the viewer aware of the construction of the video. Complicating and questioning my dual relationship as both participant and director, with the people I film."

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