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PIDGIN: Interrupted Transmission

Erika Tan
2002
65 min. programme, looped multiple soundtracks
multimedia installation

PIDGIN: Interrupted Transmission

The dictionary definition of "pidgin", a Chinese 'corruption' of the English term "business", used to describe a vernacular language made up of elements of two or more other languages.

Combining sounds, texts, images and icons from a number of places around the world, 'PIDGIN' offsets the apparently homogenising tendencies of an increasingly globalised economy with a vision of cultural interaction forged out of difference and local inflection. 'pidgin' becomes the metaphor for exploring the slippage, invention, creative adaptation, flexibility and fluidity of communication exchanges, technological development and the artist's creative process.

Projected within the space, sequences of images and texts, programmed on DVD, are brought into seemingly random conjunction, creating an interplay of influences and idioms that implies a kind of modern vernacular language (a technological pidgin) in the making. Around these projection screens, bursts of sound are triggered, either interrupting or illuminating these unfolding hybrid forms while lending a more spatial, sculptural dimension to the installation as a whole. These fragmentary, shifting patterns create an impression of language and culture as something very much in flux, finding points of contact and connection but just as likely to break apart or mutate.

Offset from the projections is a control (computer) and research (documents) space, which provides the backbone to the work. The control space makes transparent the software/hardware package that facilitates the technological pidginisation of the work, whilst the research space records the heterogenous approach to soliciting dialogue and communication between various disciplines, professions and contacts.

Commissioned by Film & Video Umbrella in association with Norwich Gallery.
Funded by the National Touring Programme of the Arts Council of England.

Smartpax/trax controlled multimedia work consisting of 2 channel DVD, computer monitor visuals and multiple sound tracks

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