Kuang-Yu Tsui (visual artist) received an ACC Fellowship in 2017 to explore urban environments in the United States and investigate the relationship between social media and human behavior. "I try to provide some different observations of modern cities,” he wrote, “and make social experiments to present the evolution/interaction between social media and behavior patterns of people." Through “different actions and experiments that ignore the accustomed norm, his repetitive body experiments accent the absurdity of the social values and reality that people have grown accustomed to." In New York and San Francisco, Kuang-Yu continued these social experiments through his video series Exercise Living. As we all exercise living in the complex contradictions of the “new normal,” perhaps we can take a page from Kuang-Yu Tsui’s book to “Exercise Living: Stay Calm.”
Exercise Living : Stay Calm, Action Video, 03’20” loop, 2019
This work in progress was created during my residency at the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, as part of the Asian Cultural Council Program. The video content is an experiment I conducted at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown, San Francisco. Some particular social and cultural factors have created a unique social sphere in this square. Pigeons, homeless, tourists, Goddess of Democracy, gamblers, children playing, crazy people and playgrounds..., compared to the words of energetic blessings on traditional buildings in the square, these elements that appear on the Portsmouth Square every day are like a microcosmic projection of the real world, we can clearly see a contrast between the two but are unable to point out the problems. When the contradiction develops into a habit that is part of everyday life, any absurdity doesn’t seem to be so strange anymore.
This experiment does not prove anything. We only see people firmly fulfilling their own lives and calmly coping with daily life.
Grantee Reflections is a platform for ACC alumni to share their collective voice as an international community of artists, scholars, and cultural ambassadors. This is a cultural exchange of words, image, video, and sound from around the world. While our bodies cannot travel, our minds can still meet.