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Erika Tan
9.29 min. 3 Channel Analogue Video
3 channel video and 6 track sound installation


Passing uses a video montage of cultural references; from the archival to the contemporary, taken from anthropology, popular culture and the sciences, in an attempt to deconstruct and demystify the processes of constructing and solidifying cultural boundaries.

"Passing is a 3 screen sound and video work, funded by the Arts Council of England. It concentrates on the representation of cultures, the construction of rigid boundaries and fixed categories. In particular, the focus is on the definition and construction, "Chinese", its historical transformation and the role of the media in perpetrating these boundaries. Process and form are as important to me as subject matter, and as such, this piece is also an exploration of non-linear, non-narrative forms of construction and how this results or does not result in meaning. It is a piece that looks at and is critical of mainstream media mechanisms, as much and it is an exploration of alternative uses of electronic imaging."

"Although my work often uses the notion "Chinese" as a focus, it is not my intention to 'introduce' or 'explain' a culture, ethnicity or nation. Neither am I trying to re-present an image that can be confidently consumed as authentic and representational, which too often gives rise to a legitimised voyeurism. Through a refusal to accept an explicative or totalizing role, and via the suspension of meaning and resistance to closure, I hope to question, explore and problematise representation itself, not provide new or more 'correct' classificatory systems."

Artist quote from Sites of Construction catalogue, 1995.

Three screen video work. Funded by the Arts Council of England.

Joint Winner of Towner Open 1995.

Shown in Half the Sky, Contemporary Chinese Women Artists, Museum of London 1997

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