Wong Hoy Cheong
Re: Looking

Re: Looking marks a new phase in Wong’s work which connects his region’s history with other parts of the world. The video—located in an imagined contemporary Malaysian middle-class living room, a space of a fictive former imperial power—explores the precarious link between fact and fiction, fakery and authenticity by overlaying three believable, authoritative forms: a documentary, a website, and a realistic reconstruction of a contemporary home. It is rife with occidental colonial documents and exotic cultural artifacts—the trophy-evidence of Empire-making. The video parodies television networks and documentaries as researched authoritative forms of information. It begins by posing as a serious, believable work of non-fiction, but becomes increasingly unsettling with its inclusion of fictive events, memories, and histories around the urgent contemporary problems of migration, racism, power relationships, and empire making.

Born in Malaysia, Wong Hoy Cheong’s work examines the formation of his country’s multicultural identity vis-à-vis global migration, trade, colonialism, and the postcolonial circulation of people, ideas, and capital. His extended body of work uses various media—drawing, painting, performance, installation, video, and on-line projects—to critique the impact of these developments on contemporary life within and without South Asia. With the increasingly hegemonic domination of the media industry in everyday life, its systems of representation have become a central issue in Wong’s recent work, which oscillates between reality and fiction, irony and transgression—and gains a new strength in the process.