project image
Hsinyen Wei

first performed on April 13, 2013
SAIC Sullivan Gallery, Chicago, IL
performed once in 2013


Chicago, IL


The project “GHOST” is composed by Ghost 0, Ghost ≈ and Ghost [()].

Being an immigrant makes me realize how it feels to be a ghost who is always wandering between two different symbolic systems. Situated in this awkward/in-between place, a ghost encounters a huge loss of language and communication due to the deferring and distortion of receiving and expressing information.

GHOST: Ghost 0

The audience sit on a stool, put on noise-cancelling headphones and look upward to a mirror hanging from the ceiling. The soundtrack is a recording of the silence inside a Baiha’i temple in Chicago where people are not allowed to talk inside of the space.

GHOST: Ghost ≈

In front of a mirror, there is a measurement on the ground that includes three rounds of lyrics. The span of each round would increase in order in a geometric series (one foot, two feet, four feet). The lyric is presented in reverse, which means its reflection on the mirror would be the correct way to read it. Participants put on earmuffs and sing/read the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” In the second round, the repetitive lyrics in the first round will double. For example, in the first round the lyric is “row row row your boat,” while in the second round the lyric will be “row row row row row row your boat.”

GHOST: Ghost [()]

I stick mylar inside a lamp shade structure. The participants put their heads inside of the structure and then turn on the switch to make it spin. The instructions ask them to imitate the sound they are hearing. They imitate the sound outside their bodies and then imitate the sound inside their bodies.

Silence never means the non-existence of sound, just like the unseen-ness of a ghost doesn’t mean that the ghost doesn’t exist. In “Ghost 0,” what an audience hears from the noise-cancelling headphones is a positive sound. In “Ghost ≈,” sound is not for locating, but for confirming information. Unable to get information accurately, a ghost reacts based on other human being’s reactions/reflection. By experiencing the failure of communication, a ghost realizes the inability of self-communication, which it never had to worry about when it was a human being.