The only place I'll be walking, is back in time

The only place I'll be walking is back in time (A Story Still Exists Here, Part Three)

Site Specific Installation, printed on sketch paper purchased in China / 2010


The only place i'll be walking is back in time

After travelling through both the small villages and large cities of China, an evident divide became apparent. The concerns of the nation as a whole seem to have shifted from spiritual to material gain, dividing a nation that was once forcibly united under the guise of communism. A movement which saw the unjust deaths of many, deaths which to this day continue to haunt and are still unrecognised and unaccounted for. 

Family photos, communist posters and kitsch landscapes haphazardly snake their way along the concrete walls of homes in the villages of China. This installation mimics this mode of display, with old family pictures laden with senimentality, photos taken on my journey through China, and communist posters brought together to form a collective identity. It is a comment on life in China in the present, with pointers to the past, as there is no today without yesterday.

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.