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The Shortcut to the Systematic Life:
Superficial Life
Video, 4 minutes 50 seconds

Kuang-yu Tsui

Kuang-Yu Tsui (born 1974 in Taipei, Taiwan) studied at the Fine Art Department, Taipei National University of the Arts (1992 – 1997). Kuang-Yu Tsui has participated in several exhibitions, such as: The Spectre of Freedom,” La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2005); "The Shortcut to the Systematic Life: City Spirits," Gasworks Studio, London, UK (2004); "25hrs", International Video art show, EI Raval Sports Pavilion, Barcelona, Spain (2003); "The Shortcut to the Systematic Life: Superficial Circumstance" (solo) at IT Park Gallery & Photo Studio, Taipei (2002); and "Chien. Kuang. Huei Taking a Shortcut" (solo) at the Prototype Art Gallery, Tainan (2001).

My art actions make use of simple digital video documentaries and installations, taking place in a city environment, underscoring the “interjection” of the individual, and serving as a provocative exploration and experimentation with a given environment's capacity for tolerance.

In my 2002 solo exhibition “The Shortcut of Systematic Life: Superficial Circumstance,” I considered mimicry to be the work's key concept. As the core concept of an art action, mimicry invokes a biological concept, not only providing a subject within an ecosystem with a tool-like interface that can change according to reality, but also achieving a strategy in which the subject deliberately alters his external appearance in order to penetrate environmental barriers. But these films of “mimicry” usually include the action of the artist entering, passing through, and exiting the scene. It is an imitation, not an explanation. It is also a declaration of the dissonance among various pre-established identities: You arrive at a certain venue in society and at great pains perform an extremely divergent form of behavior, acting out the inner drama that occurs in urban people every day—the attempt to demonstrate that one is no different from anyone else.

In my new work of 2005, The Shortcut of Systematic Life: City Spirit, I sought out spaces in both London and Taipei that could be interpreted in two different ways, and had ambiguous relationships with their environments. Then in these spaces I interjected a specific action, using video to transform the entire scene into a temporary yet unreal segment of life. On the surface, this is a little similar to rediscovering in a stereotypical environment a different level of urban space with which we are familiar, even though this invisible city can only appear for a few minutes or a few short seconds when the action takes place.

Perhaps we can view City Spirit as a form of environmental mimicry on a very large scale: In the name of art, in a series of casual pretenses, all of our preconceptions are reenacted. This self-awareness allows us to engage in these constant dead-end collisions, and survive unscathed. Perhaps this is the true triumph of contemporary life. (Artist's Statement)

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