Mahjong (A Story Still Exists Here, Part Five)
Video and Installation / 2011
The sound of mahjong tiles being shuffled resonates long after the game is over.
This piece is a culmination of the previous parts of the series A story still exists here.
White plaster mahjong tiles will form a centrepiece in front of the video. The tiles representing stories told over games of mahjong that linger long after the player ceases to exist. The colour white being associated with death and funeral practices in Chinese culture.
The video follows on from These Four Walls, illustrating the story that exists between those two images.
A Story Still Exists Here
The very essence of this series of works is to tell a story that resonates for the artist on both a personal and artistic level. At the very core of the works are the basic elements of birth, death, loss and life.
It started with a clunky 1980's voice recorder and a cassette with a red label marked 'three little bears'. My mum sat down with my grandfather in hospital and proceeded to tape over the children's story with the tales of his life up to that point. As with all recollections sometimes they are vague, due in part to time passing, parts too painful to tell and the imminent onset of dementia.
Translating the cassette from Cantonese to English I started to recall the lost conversations had over the years. The ones spoken loudly at packed Chinese restaurants over the clang of plastic chopsticks against cheap porcelain. The silent stories conveyed during countless games of mahjong and cups of black tea.
At this point I decided the only way to I was going to fill in the blanks of his story was to revisit the places and people mentioned . So in 2009 I set off to China so that I could accurately intertwine the historical, geographical and personal elements in piecing together a family history.
The different parts of this series act as snippets of the story, leaving the viewer to piece together the missing parts and project upon them their own experiences.