Unravelling, 1994, installation with wood, emulsion, photocopies, dimensions variable

"susan pui san lok", "susan lok", "Unravelling"

In Unravelling (1994), a handful of childhood photographs from a scant family archive are submitted to scrutiny via dissection, disintegration and dissemination, their multiplication and partial obliteration intimating the shortfalls and compensations of memory/making by such objects; attempts to stay the failures of identities and histories to unify and cohere, submissions to delusory beginnings cast adrift between partial and indifferent narratives. Reproduced and degraded through a copier, image-fragments cling to the surfaces of wooden blocks scattered among custom-made yet ill-fitting boxes, in shades of blue (‘the colour of interior life’[1]). Elevated onto a shallow plinth or false floor, Unravelling evokes child’s play, playing out the fetishisation of unknowable image-objects, magnifying and making intimate details simultaneously distanced by repeated mediation, as well as implicating and frustrating voyeuristic, tactile and narrative desires, by refusing interaction and reconstruction.

[1] William Gass, On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry (Boston, MA: David R. Godine, 1976).

The above text is extracted from the chapter, ‘Back Words’, in ‘A – Y’ (2004).