Video and installation version | Video, 12 min. 54 sec. (different language / google search versions) | various wallpaper installation
The work is based on the earlier performance version of 2012 it was re-written in 2015, at the height of the ‘European migrant crisis’ when thousands of refugees (Syrian and other Muslim-majority countries) arrived in Europe – many of them passing through or stopping in Vienna. Responding to this significant global issue, Yang parallels his own narrative of migration with the experience of those travelling across the Mediterranean Sea and Southeast Europe. The visual aspect of Becoming European consists of a search of Google’s image repository, which seeks to comprehend a new and unfamiliar culture, utilising key search terms such as ‘refugees’, ‘migration’ or ‘Chinese’. Depending on where the video is shown, the Google search is repeated, resulting in different images that speak to the region in which it is exhibited.
The video is shown in an installation with a wallpaper. ‘Schniztel’ Wallpaper at Kunsthalle Wien, 2015 and Art Sonje Center Seoul 2018.
The latest version of Becoming European is part of a larger installation, Xīní / Xuělí Blue Room, 2018, at the Biennale of Sydney 2018 – a wallpapered space with motifs representing well-known sites in Sydney including the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. These have been painted by a traditional Chinese landscape ink painter who has never visited the city, depicting an imagined reality. As an extension of the video work, the wallpaper operates as a metaphor for comprehending a foreign culture.
Exhibition history: Kunsthalle Wien Vienna 2015 | rotor Steirischer Herbst Graz 2016 | Biennale of Sydney 2018 | Art Sonje Center 2018