Three channel video / multimedia installation (animation, projection, found objects)
People often learn about different cultures from their screens, but those images do not always represent reality. I am from Taiwan. And since living in the United States, I have learned that the media’s representation is very different from real life, particularly cultural representation. Looking back, it was hard to imagine how much cultural differences would influence my everyday life.
Through movies and novels, we know that there is a big gap between Asian and Western food culture. In the stereotype, Asians have rice for every meal and eat many different things from animals to insects, meat to organs, and a variety of fruit such as many types of mangoes and melons. While Westerners, on the other hand, eat a more limited variety, such as steak, fried chicken, potatoes and corn as their staples.
Therefore, food became one of the most important concepts in this thesis work, as well as the containers that food comes in. I want to draw attention to the container because interestingly, I found that Westerners use totally different boxes for Asian food than in Taiwan, which gave me a whole new emotional experience when ordering it. Consequently, I chose to include food containers in my art installation, intending to highlight the cultural difference between American and Taiwanese food. Fried rice, bubble tea, and organs, specifically came to my mind.
Through my installation, the audience can think not only about types of food, but also the differences in containers. In addition, I want to share stories about my personal relationships through the artworks. Each piece symbolizes: a relationship between me and my family, my friends, and Taiwanese culture. I share my own experiences to make the stories of cultural difference more personal and more inviting.
Moving image is the ideal storytelling medium. Video can deliver not only images but also a soundtrack, through either 2D animation or live-action filmmaking. By applying different production techniques, the audience can experience new feelings around familiar topics. I also challenged myself to produce video artworks that are displayed non-traditionally.
There were several experimental video production techniques that I used to create Bian Dang. In Home Cooking Class, the audience listens to a conversation between my dad and I about cooking that is realized through a flipbook machine made from an American Chinese food container and hand-drawn animation. Bubble Memories presents my memory of sharing bubble tea with my friends, realized by projection mapping onto plastic cups with little characters. And through stop-motion animation in Missing in American Supermarkets, I share a story about organs displayed in a food tray, honoring traditional Taiwanese culture.
Importantly, I choose Bian Dang as the all encompassing element to bring together the three stories. Bian Dang is a traditional lunchbox in Taiwan. As a teen, I brought my lunch in it to school. My mother would fill it with the leftovers of our last meal. It could be rice or noodles or something else – it was always a surprise. Through this multimedia installation, I share the stories of a meal that I had when I was in school in Taiwan, fried rice with organs and a cup of bubble milk tea. Bian Dang also resembles a storage box. Thus, opening the Bian Dang becomes the starting point of a journey into my Taiwanese memories.
Karin Ching is a Taiwanese digital artist who produces short films and multimedia projects. She has experience making animations, documentary films, and also applying video to 3D surfaces via projection mapping. She believes that video is the best medium to tell stories and deliver messages and has the power to promote positive change in the world. Karin is a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Media and Design candidate at the University of Connecticut, and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Technology from National Chiao Tung University. Prior to UConn, Karin worked as a video editor for ETtoday Co., Ltd, one of top three media companies in Taiwan. After graduation, Karin intends to continue creating content that will help promote change and social advocacy for the public.
More of her work can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/