the love letters that she wrote back to me
ongoing project with Yen Yi Lee
Everyone is an accumulative entity, we define ourselves as an
individual, and however, we related to other people by sharing common
experiences, incidents in which the state of mind at the very moment.
Experience is being produced through creation, narration, and
reflection, through each story telling process, we reinforces meaning
by adding new discovery to it. Memory is alive in this sense, which
is not just something happened in the past, but a state of mind which
is travelling alongside of our body.
This proposed project evolves from my own search for identity and
dealing with mixed ethnical backgrounds. Yen Yi and I started
collaborating in 2011 when we met eachother in Edinburgh. We
spontaneously started photographing each other in my small studio
space under my desk.
Dreams are called dreams because it will never come true. The photo
shooting process happened under the table, it was naughty, escapist
and nostalgic. Teenagers dress up as an adult because they can’t be,
Ancient emperors look for means to achieve immortality. Lipstick is a
symbol of adulthood, an adventure for teens, an evidence of boundary
crossing, and ascertains of femininity, which symbolize our playful
emotion represent our in-between state, the growing nostalgia of the
past, childhood memory and the fear of adulthood.
This gave a sort of intimate space for us to work in and we decided
to experiment with make up. By photographing each other in such a
small claustrophobic space a sort of childish teenager emotion was created
while we posed in front of the camera. We both are interested in the idea
of being a grown up and having desires to stay young and girlish without responsibilities.
In our daily conversations we talked about our past and different
love stories with different men. I decided to write Yen Yi about the
different love affairs I had in the past. Each letter contains an
intimate moment. Parts of these letters Yen Yi will translate in
Chinese in this way I receive my own love letter back in an unreadable
way for me. I think this resembles the way that I deal with those
intimate situations; I would like to talk about them again and again.
But I never completely understand myself when I think about love and
how I deal with relations. To receive my own love letters in a
language that I can’t read reflects this emotional state.
By posting each other our love letters, we rewrite about and through
reading and writing, receiving and sending thus to create a reciprocal
dialogue. Sending back Sarojini’s love letter in my mother tongue
create a paradox for me and her, through the process of rewriting, I
become familiar with her story and trying to engage with her feeling
with a totally different time space, this could be an experiment for
me as a time travel, to experiment the time and space as another
individual. Through my translation, all the bodily memory of Sarojini
will be defamiliar by my language which she can’t not decode, nor can
discern the possible misconstrued meaning. Words and language become
unreliable, emotion being distorted.