人迹 (rén jì) ( ‘tracings of human life‘) is presented in parallel with The Fu Manchu Complex.
The Fu Manchu Complex a funny, satirical take on the ‘Yellow Peril’ racist stereotype and the historically problematic ways in which East Asians have been represented. By turning these representations on their head, the play is a pricking reminder of what it means to be stereotyped, and that experiences of Othering are still as pervasive in our lives today.
Conversely, 人迹 Renji — 'tracings of human life' — began as a study and documentation of distance and relationships in a digital age, but gets inadvertently caught up in the question of identity and representation of the self. Both artists are of East Asian descent, but this is only an aspect of who they are — how much or how little this factors in their experience of the world is a process of constant negotiation. With every story we tell ourselves and others day after day, our selves are made, caught up in an never-ending Great Conversation about what it means to be human.
人迹 (rén jì) ( ‘tracings of human life‘) is in equal parts documentation, performance, and still image; it is as much about the journeys we take as it is about the traces we leave behind.
A long-distance friendship plays out between two people who both grew up in Singapore and live in London, but do not meet or initiate direct contact with each other, corresponding only via their daily posts on their blogs and social media instead. They share banal details of their everyday lives, personal stories, photographs, memories, and confessions: their selves, in other words, or some version thereof. What results is an aggregation of their lives as they translate, curate and document themselves online, taking the viewer on a psychogeographical journey across time, space, personal memory, and the Internet.