Shu Lea Cheang (2012)
installation | performance
BABY WORK is the third installment of my LOCKER BABY PROJECT that includes BABY PLAY (2001, NTT[ICC], Tokyo) and BABY LOVE (2005, Palais de Tokyo, Paris).
The Locker Baby project conceived in 2001 reflects a time when bioscience is accused of out of control and scifi fantasia brings forward the future. Deriving from Ryu Murakami's noted novel Coin Locker Babies (1980) of post-war Japan , the Locker Baby Project further contests the mother’s heart beats that are so desired for clone babies born out of lockers. A fictional scenario set in 2030 - the transnational DPT (DollyPolly Transgency) produces and engages clone locker babies in trafficking human ME(memory+emotion) data. The clone baby holds the key to retrieve the networked inter-sphere of ME data, embedded in a playfield of sonic imagery triggered only by human interaction. In BABY PLAY, an oversized baby foot field taken over by clone baby players; in BABY LOVE, the public drive around six motorized fairground teacups with love songs transmitted through internet and remixed by clone babies.
BABY WORK as a performative installation situates the public as BABY who works to align the lost ME data. Set in a post-keyboard E-trashscape, BABY WORK collapses keys and rewires junked keyboards to put the baby/public at work. A toy claw crane mmachine is erected, risen from mountain of broken keys. The keys are thrown about while the public adorned in worker's white cotton gloves collect the shattered keys. Picking up keys, the public arrange randomly the keys on the intelligent wall made up by the rewired matrix and metal plates of the used keyboards. Each key placing triggers a sound note. With many BABIES (the public) at work, keys with sound notes are patched, (a)synchronized into a sonic expression of lost memory and emotions.
YOU ARE THE BABY. WORK.