taipei

Shu Lea Cheang, Making News Making History—Live from Tiananmen Square, 1989, five-channel video, color, sound, 30 minutes.

“(Not) Just a Historical Document”

Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei

“The name of the game is Dialogue,” an expressionless female face tells us in a booming robotic voice. The rules of the game are simple, but bear repeating for the sake of emphasis: Keep playing and keep talking; keep playing and keep talking. “Let us now begin our dialogue,” she says, piquing our curiosity. “You’ve lost.”

At first, Danny Ning Tsun Yung’s single-channel video Game, 1986, appears to suggest that debate, dialogue, and reasoning are the origin of game logic. However, as the video continues and the participant loses no matter what, this absurd game points to the meaninglessness of the endeavor and the absence of logic. Yung’s was one of twenty radical yet relatively unknown video works shown in the exhibition “(Not) Just a Historical Document: Hong Kong–Taiwan Video Art 1980–1990s,” the show’s title a wry nod to China calling the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 just “a

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