Poh Wang

2010 Kamiyama Artist in Residence participant

Poh Wang creates installations and videos filled with humor and sadness, based on the theme of examining the hidden aspects of society that are taken for granted. The team has been active since 2000 in Tokyo and places around the world such as Holland and Scotland, creating and displaying their works.  (2010)  (→Poh Wang Website)


Time & Rip
Exhibited at “Yorii-za theatre”
Installation, 2010

 Wow… We could not take our eyes off the ceiling which was filled with advertising displays. As we walked further into Yoriiza theatre, we saw a circular slit in the middle of the platform. “It's a revolving stage.” someone told us.
When we had a grandstand view of the theatre, we could almost hear laughter and yelling as if we were one of the performers on this stage in bygone years. It thrilled us just imagining it.
This place was certainly the sacred capital of Kamiyama and the mountains all around. We must perform.

We knew exactly what to do for our residency at this precise moment. In our mind, the off-key sound of merry-go-rounds rang out and a flickering electronic spectacular started to revolve.
Whenever we feel satisfied with what we create, the concept of the work and our mission float down from the sky then fit together perfectly like pieces of a puzzle. All we have to do is to believe in it and get on working.
We decided to make a fun fair merry-go-round to represent the joy of this lively theatre and the sadness of its last curtain call. It is an installation to connect with memories of the past. To stop it from becoming an overbearing show, we set up some rules.

-Local resources must be used.
-Size of work must be smaller than full scale.
-Minimize the decorations.
-Work must touch the audience through perception and feelings without any sort of physical contact.

 We commuted to Yoriiza every day. We became closer to some of the neighbors day by day.
At first, they treated us as guests but then people started asking for help with repairs and sometimes teasing us by saying things like “Hey, don't slack off! You should be working!” when they saw us around town. We felt we were accepted as Poh-Wang of Yoriiza comfortably. It made us very happy.
Even though we usually rush to finish our work, this time we wanted to stay and work for as long as we could. It was impossible, of course.

 We used motors from ancient electric fans given by locals for the heart of the merry-go-round. Someone told us “I kept this fan for so long because it's the very first Sharp model!” and another person said “Oh, my son broke the power switch.” showing us the repaired fan: the main switch was fixed with a pen lid. These were no longer just domestic appliances, they were part of someone’s life.
So we took them apart with respect and care. It's always nice to see good old electronics. They are simply made yet well designed. But the ancient motor is easily exhausted therefore we had to cross our fingers and watch it work.
“Go, Go! Motors!”

 By the time we got used to the record setting heat wave, we had gone through the most crucial stage in making a merry-go-round. Also we had to confirm whether to move onto our next project or get some rest and explore Kamiyama.
 The project was about writing a story in Kamiyama dialect, typewritten at the same time as a piano key is played. Typed words become a piece of music. The tale could be read both in Kamiyama dialect and the standard intonation, which makes it two different stories.
 Since we immersed ourselves in work, we had no chance to see anything other than our commuting road. It would have been nice to scout around the town though, following a little argument, we made up our minds to start our new work just like most of artists would do.
And after all, we ended up exploring the mountains in the name of “location hunting” anyway!

 By some miracle, we managed to complete the show of Time&Rip Merry-go-round. The stretched sounds of a merry-go-round music starts to play, the giant structure is creaking and turning. Lines of lights flow in front of our eyes. Although there was a slight change of plan, this was exactly how we imagined the work to look the first time we stood here.
 Yet the work has to disappear when the exhibition ends. Furthermore its absence will hopefully paint a more vivid memory, just like the empty space of Yoriiza does.

 Now, back in Tokyo after our hot intense summer project, we still feel feverish. It makes our day spotting vegetables produced in Kamiyama in the local supermarkets. Sometimes we check the price and judge the quality of sudachi like we are experts.
 But more than that, we reminisce about the artists and friends we met in Kamiyama.

Kamiyama Piano Sonata No.12
Exhibited at Nikishima house
Video installation, 2010

Poh Wang Website

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