2018, double-channel video, 23’45”
In Double Talk, Tao narrates the comeback of a Korean idol singer from his death via the duo-channel video installation. Through the Q&A between the idol and the journalists chasing after, it examines how the pop culture and the mass media influence individuals. The right channel of the work is derived from the star-making campaign in the Korean entertainment industry, using the TV lexicon from Korean drama to fabricate a surreal story. After the unnatural death, the not-so-successful idol returns to earthly world, pursued by the press. The video showcases how the idol employs the common tricks of evasion as responses to the mass media while subtly discloses the key information before his death. Sometimes, he is an idol that receives interviews; other times, he is an actor putting up yet another show in the structure of performance. The constant identity swapping thus creates a sense of uncertainty with multiple identities. The video of the right channel appears on the TV in a classroom of the left channel as a teaching material in the educational scene. The teacher talks to the students on stage to analyze scenes and speeches of the idol, while the students gaze attentively without any response.
China / 1987 born in Chongqing, China, now living and working in Beijing
TAO Hui’s common practice is video installation production to express the collective experiences, focusing on issues of social identity, gender status, ethnicity, and cultural crisis. The artist excels at using metaphors to reflect the cultural psychology and aesthetic needs in the contemporary society. The scenes he created are mostly absurd and exaggerated. The figures inserted carry the metaphorical and provocative colors of emotions that constantly reveal their “sense of displacement”, propelling audience to face the cultural histories, survival statuses, and social identities of their own.
Images courtesy of Tao Hui, Edouard Malingue Gallery (Hong Kong, Shanghai) and Esther Schipper (Berlin)