The work draws inspiration from two sources: “robota,” the Czech origin of the word “robot” and Sisyphus, who is condemned to push a boulder up a hill for eternity in Greek mythology. “Robota” translates to forced labor, just like Sisyphus who pushes the boulder up only for it to roll back down again. The work is an absurd comic about the repetitive daily routines that we perform, but it also asks serious questions about contemporary servitude in a capitalist society. With technological advancements and a widening wealth inequality, are we moving toward a better future?
“90x200” is an installation that dramatizes the emotions of frustration, anxiety, and delirium through mechanical movements. It stages the internal state of push-and-pull with a ghostly body accompanied by repetitive machine noises, signaling a symbolic sickness of contemporary living by automation. The title “90x200” not only describes the dimensions of a single bed, but also evokes the idea of pixelation. The work plays out as a crude mechanical resolution, pointing to a possible future in which the human body disappears while machinery performs the lingering visceral and psychological residues.
Two rectangular mini fridges glow in the dark, each with a small robot inside acting on a piece of raw meat. The robots seem to be attempting to communicate by pushing the meat back together. The work provokes a mixed sense of sympathy, disgust, affection, absurdity, powerlessness, humor, and eeriness. Inspired by our primal need to connect with one another, “Meet Apart” presents animalistic desires against modular machine logic. The work is a comic metaphor to our intimate tendencies as lovers, brothers, neighbors, friends, and lonely strangers.
In the installation, one cart spills sand while the other spills chocolate wrapped in gold foil paper. Sand is noted as an abundant and low cost material/waste; chocolate is associated with the notions of luxury, passion, and colonial history. The chocolate balls symbolize the peak of capitalism; the sand represents the base of a capitalistic pyramid. The forced merger of materials demonstrates a conflict of interest; gold and dirt; have and have not; rich and poor. The title “Sweet Nothing” is a misspelling of the idiom “sweet nothings,” which connotes tender words exchanged by lovers. The work can be read as a tragic split, where one party is full of passion while the other is emotionally detached.
“Woalifu” is a sound installation consisted of two repeating voices. Two speakers are built into the rotating catering table; their locations are marked by the blue-and-white porcelain bowls. One speaker plays a male voice while the other plays a female voice. Each speaker takes turns iterating a simple Chinese phrase, “let me pay.” As the table spins automatically the sound sources also change direction. The work loops continuously. It plays on the over-politeness of Taiwanese dining etiquettes, overextending the boundary of friendliness to the realm of absurdity.