Morgan Wong, ‘Plus-Minus-Zero’, 2010, Pearl Lam Galleries

Morgan Wong’s exploration is a time performance reminiscent of Back To The Future scientific logics. As video is frequently categorized as time based media, this work connects time, distance, technology and travel. Whilst this work is related to a fax work that was commissioned for the exhibition FAX, and shown at Para/Site Art Space, it is also a perfectly autonomous work through the discourse it holds. When we see the artist walking backwards and anti-clockwise, in order to reverse time, and turn the “clock” back 56 minutes and 6 seconds, we can only reflect on the pointless attempt of traveling through time, and in the process bring closer Hong Kong and Sapporo, by vanishing the time difference between the two places. The selection of an outdoor location is not random, it places us in a landscape, and this allows us to position the artist in the white countryside of Sapporo, in Japan, where this video has been produced.

As a complex physics theory, where you only grasp the skin of it, this video is constructed with multiple mechanics. Is the artist really walking backwards? We can see the other skiers passing by following the “right” direction. Why is snow going backwards as well? The simple poetics of a rambler in a white landscape is turned around, through the process of reframing time by symbolically pressing the fast-forward or the return button. It is through all these contradictions and collisions between technology, brain logics, time, optical illusions, distance and travel that the artist builds this reflection.

About Morgan Wong

Merging technology with art to explore temporality and dynamism within the city of Hong Kong and among its people, Morgan Wong favors video and installation works for their durational qualities and the way they can manipulate time. Distorting chronology using technology, Wong’s Plus-Minus-Zero features the artist walking backward and counter-clockwise in the snow, taking one step every second while being passed by skiers at varying speeds, creating a seemingly atemporal world. Wong’s performance piece Frustration of having more than two choices to make in life is a self-imposed purgatory in which the artist is dressed as a patient in a psychiatric ward, immersed in the mindless activity of staring at a steel bar and file on the floor. For Wong, performance serves him intellectually and allows the audience to better understand how he works, thinks, and functions as an artist.

Chinese, b. 1984, Hong Kong, China