Space：New York, United States
NuNu told me that she saw anxiety in the work. Indeed, the making of the work not only shows the pressure of time but also the pressure of language. But where does the anxiety come from?
Emotion Chips directly touches upon the issues of language, including the power play between Chinese and English as well as how language, as a communicational medium, turns out to be the tool of encoding. Let me put it in this way – once the words are being said, they become “independent” from both the speakers and the listeners. Especially when they are transcribed into written text, the communication process between the writers/speakers and the readers/listeners is even more different. Therefore, we are given a bigger space for interpretation. All of these mentioned above contributed to my anxiety when I was making the work. The frequent conversation between Eric and me made me feel that we were so distant from each other. To begin with, the first problem for me was to diminish the distance when language didn’t suffice.
“Eating” is a complex physical perception which includes the sense of touch, smell, taste, and satisfaction. The food is digested, absorbed, and “mixed” into the body. Compared to the words being said (speaking something out from the mouth), eating (absorbing something in through the mouth) becomes a way for me to solve the dilemma of language. Indeed, how one feels about eating can be very different, and I will never deny the difference. The real problem is the distance. The term “distance” is not only referred to the different time zones of the USA and Taiwan or the geographical distance of two spaces, but also the distance of thoughts created by language. “Contact” is the first necessary move to diminish the distance. We cannot find a way out in the imagination of language. It is why I have decided to make some food for him to eat. And, of course, I am going to taste it too!
Taiwan and New York
One is 12 hours ahead of the other.
Two strangers are connected with each other
trying to imagine the place on the other side of the earth
Language is a barrier as well as a connector.
It messes with your imagination and it creates a new one –
The one allowing you to take an adventure.
I write, I eat, and I eat what I write.
I write, he eats, and he eats what I write.
We have always contacted each other through email since there is the Pacific Ocean between us. It seems that we know each other well, but we are still strangers. I cannot touch Eric, and I cannot even touch the email, which is never as warm as real paper. It has no trace at all. Therefore, I wrote down the words on corn chips and sent the “emotion chips” to him so that he could see them, touch them, and eat them. The chips extended my reach, allowing me to touch Eric’s body. At this point, how he felt after eating the chips was beyond my imagination. However, Eric’s reaction showed that he had a strong feeling about it – the chips were even more powerful than language.
The words written on the corn chips did not matter. It was just a symbol or a reference – a writing which would continue creating differences.