聽寫王系列
TengSeWong/VoiceWriter Series

我們這堥S有造鼓油
Here we don't produce soya sauce
  a site-specific installation with sound and text
Dowda Happening
22/01/2005
   

This is a site-specific installation as part of the event "Dowda Happening" taking place in a disused food and sauce factory in a rural village in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong. The event organizer called this a "soya sauce" factory, although later on in the process of making this work, I found that this factory indeed had not produced soya sauce but other kind of food sauces.

Stories from the factory care-taker Mashooq-Hussain, who was a Cantonese-speaking Pakistani living in Hong Kong for more than 30 years, was pre-taped and repeated by Clare Charnley, a speech artist from Leeds, UK, who cannot speak Cantonese at all. Clare's speech was then input into a computer device called "Cantonese Voice-Writer" and transcribed into some long paragraphs of text which were placed around the three giant sauce-cooking woks on the 6m × 2m stove inside the factory. When the (Chinese) viewer read the text, one could pick up some colloquial phrases which were generated by the Voice-Writer's automatic word association function and were unusually linked with each other, for example "遺囑白粉" (will-heroin), "利息賊佬" (interest-thieves), etc. Spotlights were thrown on the 3 empty woks. Original speech of Mashooq and Clare was played by 2 CD-players at the same time at two corners of the stove. The nonsensical combination of phrases on the stove seems to document in Chinese the personal history of Mashooq and his life in the food and sauce factory. Nevertheless, however fluent his Cantonese is, the text was never what he meant and his cultural identity was somehow mistaken and misunderstood.



 
  My idea of this work was to question in the name of technological development the (mis-)legitimizing power of digital media of "improving" and "enhancing" people's life. The mistake was concealed and it was often disguised by fun. 
 
     
聽寫王系列
TengSeWong/VoiceWriter Series
© 魂游 wen yau