Categorising Humans Is a Chore (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?)
| Who 6 minutes 38 seconds | To where 5 minutes 50 seconds | From where 5 minutes 22 seconds | Music 4 minutes 32 seconds
Video | Multi-channel animation
4:3, with audio
Edition of 3code: TMH_6531
The work presents the state crests, flags, and maps of 198 countries in a series of looping graphics. As symbols of political entities, the three elements are usually the most recognisable representations of governing bodies.
Questions such as “where are you from”, “where are you going” frequently arise among conversations between travellers. Border customs provide the best opportunity to observe such occurrences, where the custom officers themselves are arguably the human representations of the country, with the authority they hold.
Titled Categorising Humans Is a Chore, the use of a more verbal and casual phrase seeks to move away from the seriousness and formality of the national symbols, allowing viewers to contemplate in a more flexible manner.
The state crests are depicted in an hourglass; tipping over endlessly and gradually losing their forms in the process, while the hourglass exists in a tunnel-like space. The flags are arranged in an upward angle — as how they are usually seen, flashing and inter-changing in a geometric formation. The maps are portrayed as oscillating flat pieces; warping and stretching as they approach either side of the screen, only appearing in their standard forms in the middle. The movements in the videos are repetitive and recurring in nature, resulting in a seamless loop.
The artist is inspired by looping gifs on the Internet, frequently seen as “hypnotic gifs”. The objects, together with the backgrounds, are all presented in a looping motion. To Tang, repetition is a mesmerising tempo. The hint of tediousness introduced to the work undermines the solemn nature of the state symbols whilst encouraging viewers to contemplate on the topic in a mood of lethargy.