Keywords about Living Room

Single-channel video installation
Duration: 05'10", C-print 130x168.5cm



Though at first glance they appear to be merely a compilation of the same repeated action, Yu Cheng-Ta's video works draws out and magnifies the subtle cultural and behavioral "slippages" that arise from differences in national, regional and cultural backgrounds. Through this technique, the videos take a critical perspective on the ambiguity of meaning in language and behavior, and the problems of the social institutions that exist behind the scenes. At the same time, however, the majority of Yu Cheng-Ta's works are in fact comical in nature, thus allow audiences to enjoy the events that unfold in his videos with a smile on their faces.

For the Living Room project, Yu interviewed around 70 Japanese people, asking each person to choose the one word they associate most with the "living room." Every interviewee was asked to voice record the pronunciation of his or her chosen word, which the native Taiwanese Yu then preceded to try to imitate in his video. His work ultimately comes together when laughable "slippages" emerge out of his attempts to reproduce these words.

Though he is conscious of the humor that arises from this technique, the relationship between artist and audience becomes such that, although Japanese viewers are able to directly experience the comicality of the piece, Yu himself cannot recognize what exactly it is that makes his video so funny. This is similar to the experience that any one of us may encounter when we meet others with cultural backgrounds differing from our own. Looking through the lens of such social and cultural "flukes" that occur when different cultures meet head-on, Yu Cheng-Ta, with bittersweet comicality, brings into question how our relationships with others begin to take shape. (Text: Shingo Yamano)