Socks, Rifles and Umbrellas: My Revolution So Far
A guide through six years of professional artist practice by Kai-Oi Jay Yung; an artist whose track record adheres to a-n’s ongoing mission to provide resources for graduates and early career practitioners as they step up the ladder and beyond.
Diverse voices, topographical vistas, political conundrums and sublime inventiveness have driven six years of adventuring. From Libya to San Francisco, Tarot readers and Alcatraz inmates, my art process has encompassed military marching, architectural incantation, odd socks; fruits of labour in most uncanny guises.
Alongside a tracking of my development since 2006, here are some resources from a-n’s multifaceted knowledge and mentoring tool-kits, forums and events that are relevant to facing financial, conceptual and pragmatic challenges in your practice.
Selected as one of a-n’s first Degrees unedited bloggers during my final year at Duncan of Jordanston in Dundee; I contributed to Artists talking community’s dialogue as my personal degree show process unfolds: “I hope to give voice to a mostly unheard final year as I prepare to feel institution boot up, tender, backside into the big unknown.”
I articulate a compulsive urge to create and employ necessary humor; “art stress is akin to being the poltergeist, all pale and stretched.” A chance to ‘speak’ to fellow students the blog elucidates making, and is a therapeutic, routine to art madness, tracing what I have done and how I have done it.
A residency in Munich offered local social history perspectives, time to reflect and generate work grappling sensitive political issues. I then devised workshops in Libya bridging opposing cultural standpoints. Organizations and artists harbour charged motivations with the need for mental preparation, and residencies open unexpected directions.
"Collaborative relationships can often help shift practice to another level" Collaborative relationships »
"Even with best planning and research, not all residencies turn out as expected" International residencies »
Examining personal experience and conflict in Guyan Porter’s Sri Lanka Residency »
I curated dual-venue 'Paradise Stories', exhibiting international artists in one space and my own video installation at RIBA’s Renew Rooms in Liverpool. 'Paradise Stories' exercised self-motivating responsibilities from concept to publicity; budgets, project management, evaluation and proposal writing. It was a tremendous contribution to Liverpool’s ‘Capital of Culture’ and facilitated paid artist opportunities in the city.
"Without appropriate funds artistic quality and content of work is bound to suffer" Budgets »
“I was much more interested in artists in my year who made new work almost daily” Repercussions of A Degree »
“Artists must assert themselves within the value system of a worldwide economy.”. Santiago Sierra in Making a living as an artist »
Socially engaged investigations; 'Sock Exchange', FACT, Liverpool and 'Tarot De Marseille' - deploying a Tarot deck to interpret Marseille’s quartiers and seaport lineage - saw my collaboration with others.
'Sock Exchange' thrived on discussion and activity through an odd sock call out, devising a carbon-sockprint calculator and documentary investigating UK textile manufacture. From marine biologists, stitch-bitch groups, sustainability experts; socks became a polemical weapon for urgent ecological issues.
What [are] our politics, motivations for doing this kind of work? Art, Education, Activism »
Networks continually shift, evolve and grow; sometimes they fall apart. Notions of Networking »
"You thrive off new environments… since leaving college you've worked in San Francisco, China, Lithuania" Jay speaking to Kate Brundrett in Life after college »
Difficult yet rewarding gallery experiences identify organizations and individuals to trust and work with again on basis of artist support, integrity and responsibility for actions.
I focused production towards a solo exhibition 'Interval; A Narrative Psychosis'. This extensive project culminated from an Arts Council England (ACE) funded Hong Kong-California trajectory. Reconstructing Cornerhouse in Manchester as an architectural labyrinth, I housed eleven video works crossing documentary, performance, moving image; narratives from Spielberg's scriptwriter to former an Alcatraz convict. The work Amnesia; A Rehearsal too was partially scripted/improvised, collaborating with the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, organists and harpsichordists. Heart-warming feedback reconfirmed my commitment to captivate viewer on immersive, transformative personal experiences.
Code of Practice: Organisations »
Exhibitions are not enough: Publicly-funded galleries and artists’ professional development »
“If there is loss or theft, the gallery covers this, I consider this the gallery’s bare minimum”, Rene Gimpel's video, Artist/Gallery relationships »
"It represents a significant development and period of Yung’s career. A meaty, exciting, confusing, amusing and thought-provoking show." Emily Speed on Interval: A Narrative Psychosis »
The unravelling of fruitful new forms and crossings working with Beijing’s 798 founder to inspirational artists from Gwangju and Prague. I exhibited in New York and injected my process with fresh stimuli, transferring making into live performance in ‘Military Craft’, Guangdong and ‘The System Is Done’, Hong Kong.
Cultural exchange ultimately it relies on face-to-face meetings and dialogues. An International practice »
'Thinking space' to clarify ideas priorities in Working abroad »
Jobs and opportunities residency listings »
I began 2012 exploring physical/mental endurance through sound, movement and automatism at Performance Space, London. ACE funded South America research project also becomes a focus.
Cuts, closures and unpaid positions signal the need for astute navigations to sustain individual growth. My 2007 Degrees unedited blog still holds true: “it’s necessary to be fluid and adapt my practice since the art globe is slippery with shifting parameters. The gravitational core is my own values; nurturing relations with those I respect and trust.” Despite changing technologies and economies networks, skills and practice gravitate central needs; from crowd-funding to training and generating time to assess strategies and goals.
"In the 2009-10 financial year, 485 [applications] were successful" Direct funding »
"Opportunities should be about helping you to generate income" Assessing Opportunities »
Granted: Professional development »
Kai-Oi Jay Yung
Kai-Oi Jay Yung’s immersive video narratives, dialogical platforms and multi-sensory interventions reconstruct our psycho-political histories through dark humour and play, catalysing engagement and collaboration. Her residencies, live performances and large-scale installations include 'Interval; A Narrative Psychosis', Cornerhouse, 'Military Craft', Guangzhou Live, 'Sock Exchange', FACT, 'Happy Stacking' with Grizedale Arts, 'Everbloomwith Eyebeam', Image Wars, Abrons Arts Centre, NYC and 'Tarot De Marseille', La Friche La Belle De Mai, Marseille. Biennials include 'Nightcomers', Istanbul and collaborative/curatorial projects include 'Everbloom..' with Eyebeam and 'Following Bauhaus' with Artur Zmijewski. She is a critical writer, lecturer and devises workshops such as Contemporary Chinese Art and Globalisation. Awards include Paul Hamlyn Foundation Micro-commission, San Francisco-Hong Kong and Brazil/Belize ACE research and she is selected as Courvoisier Future 500 member. Talks include 'Living Between The Lines', Tate Liverpool. Collections include AAA and Vivienne Westwood.
First published: a-n.co.uk April 2012
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