Whose Peril? (Work in Progress)
Experimental 3D animation with sound; 2 minutes;
Outdoor video projection on building façade
The project is a provocative work that explores the transformation of the Chinese diasporic subjectivities amid uncertainties and challenges. It responds to the returning surge in hates against Asian communities, and delves into the genealogy of "Yellow Perilism," which roots within a long tradition of Eurocentric representation of Asia as a threat to the "West." Amongst all the racial incarnations in history, a vicious octopus with Fu-Manchu’s head is an icon that consistently appears via images, documents, and texts. Such antagonized otherness in Western narratives helped manifest the "imagined Western" identification and conjured the fears to colonialist dysfunctions.
As a racial signifier in the dualist Western fantasy, “yellow” has been an imputed phenotype that varies concerning different periods of European colonization into "the Orient." It has come to represent an "East Asian" classification in its most recent use. As an entirely fictitious character created in the West, the yellow octopus embodies a looming dread to endanger the established “Western norms.”
In this project, a being with an octopus body and dragon heads levitates uncannily. It looks rather indifferent and whimsical than dangerous. The project subverts the stereotypes of “Asia." Its sculpture and animation provoke the public to face and contemplate a fixed logic. As a century-long fear still lives ubiquitously in subtler ways nowadays, the Yellow Perilist anxieties are exposed and interrogated. "Yellow to whom and Peril to whom?" The scrutinies of such questions are carried out through the appropriation and deconstruction of a historically rigid racial symbol.
This project is supported by Supernova NLD commission, Denver, CO; 2021
Research - Drawing and Writing for the Project, Work on Paper, 19 x 28 inches
Sculpture and Public Art
In Public Space
Sculpture, SLA 3D Printing (Accura 60 Resin) and Rendering of the Video Projection On-site, Project supported by Supernova NLD Commission, 2021
Research Video - Studies of the motion of the character using motion capture data and costume character control rig system; 40 seconds; 2021
Research Images - "Yellow Peril! An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear"
Schlund-Vials, C.J., 2017. Yellow Peril! An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear, edited by John Kuo Wei Tchen and Dylan Yeats.
© 2023 by Frank WANG Yefeng, all rights reserved