Annie Onyi Cheung

Written By Jessica Karuhanga

How I can-well-enough (or showing my work)

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IMAGES by Henry Chan

Every. Every time. Time. Overtime. Overtime I plan. Overtime I plan to go home. Plan to do. Plan on. Plan on returning.Your precious daughter. Your darling daughter. Precious jewel. Only jewel. Valuable. Daughter.

Annie Onyi Cheung has reconfigured the performance space. I have been noticing the ways the artists have been addressing the stage and its weight. Cheung’s installation seems to be one of the most direct or defiant cuts into the space. There are two rows of chairs which curve on either side of her multi-media installation. She is seated at the first of several desks assembled together and supporting a long scroll of paper. A wooden configuration is raised slightly and designed to slide along the edges of the table. This instrument supports a laptop, tablet and two projectors. The first projection is open to her iMessage account. The second projection is open to her desktop where we see Google-translate is open as well as a word document filled with random sentences. These lines are prototypes she copies and pastes. These lines move between the window and page. They do not form something discernible yet. But I know it is poetry. I know there is melancholy, loss and there is humour.

In Google-Translate she repeatedly inserts, copies, translates, deletes, and rearranges all the content she is attempting to say. She undulates between these computer notations and writing marks on the scroll. The scroll is a graph and she has been filling the squares with Bopomofo, phonetic notations she also occasionally sounds out, which materialize along with her transcriptions, marker and pencil marks. I walk up closer and lean in to see the symbols and notations. These notes hint and reference the performative enactment we are currently observing.

Opposite where she is stationed a small cardboard box, bound repeatedly by string into a bow, emits sound. This box is a vessel emitting noise that is like television, static, and radio. I occasionally observe individuals walking up to this small box and hovering they place their ear upon it. The placement of the rows of chairs suggest that anyone and everyone is permitted to inch closer to all the elements. When I move toward the box the sounds become clearer and looking into a peep-hole I see an older couple in a kitchen leafing through newsprint. They occasionally speak to each other. In my second visit I see a residential street, a highway and then a gated driveway from the view of the dashboard. In my third visit chicken-wings are caramelizing on a grill. This box is a container with contents that remains out of reach. But we are curious and look down on and into this private space thirsting for more.

We’ve never spent. Never ever. A work. Write a letter. Related to you. My work and my artwork.

*All italicized text in this entry were observed and recorded notations from Annie Onyi Cheung’s performance and installation.

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