Contemporary artist Gan Siong King’s All the Time I Pray To Buddha, I Keep on Killing Mosquitoes (ATIPB) is a video set up exhibition and a collection of 4 dialogue classes, set to open on the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre (PJPAC), 1Utama buying centre on Jan 19.
The video phase options two works – The Koganecho Gesture (TKG) and Citizen, with the latter first exhibited at The Koganecho Bazaar Vol.2 (KB2020) in Yokohama, Japan.
TKG was created throughout an internet artist residency, in the course of the pandemic in 2020.
Citizen is the results of an open name for collaboration by way of TKG. It relies on a script by Makarim Salman, a British physicist turned monetary analyst who then turned a tour information and resident of Tokyo.
“In his own words, this is a story of influence and connection across space and time. And in my mind, it is also a story about making connections and expanding our identity beyond race, religion and nationality,” says Gan, 47, who was skilled formally as a painter earlier than experimenting and producing his personal movies since 2010.
His video works typically draw on the aesthetics and sensibilities of music movies, pictures and memes from Internet video tradition, in addition to humour that’s typically present in Malaysian well-liked tradition.
TKG is deliberately left largely untouched for its KL presentation, excluding timing and sound design tweaks.
“I think it is important that the Malaysian audience see TKG as it is. My hope is it serves as a marker, a time capsule almost, to a collective experience we all had,” he says.
Based on recollections of conversations with individuals he has met during the last twenty years of his artistic apply, it seeks to have interaction the viewers in conversations on contemporary artwork and art-making.
“Entry points in TKG are provided via cliches about art, things that I am sure the audience has heard or thought of themselves. Things that are familiar. But it is hard to move forward if we only stay with what’s familiar. Part of art-making and art appreciation is to explore the unfamiliar. One of TKG‘s aims is to create questions and dialogues about art and art-making based on this play between the cliche, and hopefully, the unfamiliar,” he explains.
The title All the Time I Pray To Buddha, I Keep on Killing Mosquitoes is borrowed from a haiku (a type of Japanese poetry fabricated from brief, unrhymed traces) by the Japanese poet Issa Kobayashi, as translated by American poet Robert Hass.
This haiku is utilized in TKG in a sequence on residing by way of the present pandemic, a nod to the human situation and our endeavours.
“It describes something invariably human, this desire to always reach for an ideal despite our repeated failings. It is bittersweet and can be read positively or negatively depending on where you are in life. And for me, that is the charm of Issa’s haiku. I think the effects of this chance encounter with Issa’s work has yet to fully manifest itself. But I know it gives me courage. And that is good enough for now,” says Gan, who shares that he’s extra impressed by haiku and haibun as a type, than he’s by Issa as a poet.
Much of his understanding of storytelling relies on the three-act construction, and his curiosity in video essays relies on the interpretation that it’s a type/style that’s non-fiction, however but, not a documentary.
“It emerges and disappears in this shifting grey zone. I like that because I think it is a better representation of the complexities of life. Haiku is a bit like that, but it also adds an interesting simplicity to this mix.
“Most of the haiku I like often describe a simple thought, an emotion or a passing moment. It negates the need for conventional storytelling structures and expectations that I was preoccupied with. The emphasis on what is immediate and in the present, in a strange way, opens up new possibilities,” he notes.
All the Time I Pray To Buddha, I Keep on Killing Mosquitoes is organised by The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL). It had been postponed thrice due to the pandemic state of affairs.
Its dialogue classes purpose to additional the dialog on themes within the TKG and Citizen video essays, together with the technical facets of video making, the totally different approaches in artwork practices, and the manufacturing of an artwork occasion.
“For the last few years, I became interested in exhibition-making as a creative act. I see ‘exhibition’ as a medium in itself, not a by-product of completed works. I see ‘exhibition’ as a site for experimentation and a platform for me to work with others and to include their voices into my work, filling in gaps that my videos or paintings create.
“After close to two years of collective isolation, I am eager to hear from an audience and have conversations with them about art and art-making. So rather than reworking TKG on its own, other components are added to expand the show,” says Gan.
TKG and ATT revolve round these two phrases: individuals and course of.
It is about partaking the group by sharing tales about artwork and art-making, with a concentrate on writing and video making.
“I am biased, but I think art is great and vital. I wish more people would appreciate and participate in the arts. I believe with curiosity and a willingness to learn, art can be a source of comfort, in and out of a pandemic. Arts practitioners will also benefit from a larger, more knowledgeable pool of audience and patrons.
“The minor role I can play in this as an artist will always be to make the best work that I can. But I think it is also important for me to be more articulate and continue to collaborate with others to engage the audience about my work. My hope is people will come and watch the videos and also join our dialogue sessions so we can talk further about all the above and more,” he concludes.
All the Time I Pray To Buddha, I Keep on Killing Mosquitoes is exhibiting at PJPAC from Jan 19-23. Visitors are required to register here.