The Importance of Good Conduct
Hong-Kai Wang

January 22 - February 14, 2009

AC [Direct] I and II presents The Importance of Good Conduct by Taiwanese artist Hong-Kai Wang. In her cross-disciplinary sound and audiovisual pieces, Symphony and The Broken Orchestra, Wang investigates cultural and political conformity, deconstructing the influences of social norms on the individual. Through a re-contextualization of common sounds and spaces, Wang challenges convention and accepted behaviors. Often collaborating with visual artists, theater directors, music composers, filmmakers and choreographers, her work reveals unexpected expressions and meanings within the overlap of aesthetics and quotidian life. Filled with poignant ironies and an experimental “purposeful play” reminiscent of John Cage, Wang resists the prescribed confines of any situation or medium.


In AC [Direct] I, the audiovisual piece Symphony juxtaposes the constructs of individuality and nationality through Wang’s encounter with the Immigration Naturalization Service in Garden City, Long Island. Her mechanical interrogation is heard simultaneously over Debussy’s melodic piece, Clair de Lune, led by an anonymous conductor in silhouette. In a clash of orchestrated forced and free will, harmony and acceptance become incompatible, dissonant forces.


Located in the front of AC [Direct] II and played from a 5.1 sound system (including benches for the audience) is Wang’s The Broken Orchestra, which explores the boundaries of conventional uniformity and euphony within music’s standard complement. For this work, nine musicians separately recreated an early childhood performance of Bach’s Ave Maria by Wang and her brother. Isolated from the ensemble and responding to the naiveté of an imperfect and distorted instrumentation, the musicians’ sensibilities were open to personal associations and idiosyncrasies. The results of their interpretations are remixed into the original recording in an eternal loop of creative chance and circumstance.



About the Artist
Born in Taiwan, New York-based artist Hong-Kai Wang has a MA in Media Studies from The New School University (New York) as well as a BA in Political Science from The National Taiwan University (Taipei). Her sound and audiovisual installations have been exhibited internationally at Taipei Biennial (Taipei), The Salon International De Arte Digital (Havana), DiVA (Miami), The Institute of Contemporary Art (Dunaújváros, Hungary), In-Presentable (Madrid), Yokohama Triennial (Yokohama)  and the HOWL! Festival (New York). Wang’s upcoming projects include a sound installation commission for the operetta Dew of Mei Wu (Taipei), an ongoing work-in-progress project in collaboration with the Taipei Women Rescue Foundation and an interdisciplinary project for the International Women Artist’s Biennale (Incheon).


Image courtesy the artist.