ZWEI MASKEN STATT EINER
YAN GI CHENG / TRAMI NGUYEN
“Zwei Masken statt einer” (“Two Masks Instead of One”) was a collaborative duo between Yan Gi Cheng and Trami Nguyen. It collapsed boundaries between performance, video installation, choreography, and documentation so as to form a hybrid space. It was realized during the ZONA DYNAMIC residency in Berlin. It was a new contemplation on the notion of a collective narcissism fervent in contemporary society. It explored the trauma and beauty of the digital domain, and its multiplicity of narratives depicting identity, mortality, loss, and love.
“Zwei Masken statt einer” staged an event as a subtraction and formalization to certain given rules of the modern gaze, which became an arena for subverting classical forms of narratives and traditional subject and object relationships. An immersive sound installation was reverberated from under black boxes and the objects left acted as the aftermath of actions which took place. The work referenced the art from the European Medieval period—in particular a painting called The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein. This painting was made at a moment in European history when there was a separation between the state and the church. With this reference in mind, “Zwei Masken statt einer” sought to illustrate the displacement within the physical and digital environments, and the continuing deferred replacement from the church to the internet. The use of photographic masks within the piece represented our appropriation of the internet as a way of masking one’s true identity, whilst referring to the significance of the use of masks in other cultures. In particular, it referred to the African culture of the Goli dance and the Baule’s world view, which is rooted in dualism, demonstrating both the opposition and the union of the genders as well as the human world and wilderness.