Like an addiction I wept for the place I could not access reframes the typical nuclear family often portrayed in television sitcoms. The artwork’s title is a line from Jessica Lim’s poem ‘teen murders and constellations (dreams of misanthropy after Valerie Solanos, 2017)’.
Set within a void-like space, the video cycles through endless re-runs where the couch acts as the site where father, mother, son and daughter come together and clash with each other. Their performances subvert typical gender roles and draw on the queer theoretical concept of a ‘found family’, as the characters forge a new understanding of kinship.
Dream-like musical sequences interrupt the sitcom narrative, depicting the mother actor in drag performing to the song ‘I Enjoy Being A Girl’. Her performance is accompanied by Oriental and Western cinematic aesthetics, a colonial rivalry heightened by the mythos of media.
Zheng’s exploration of womanhood is extended beyond the screen by a variety of pot plants that acknowledge the artist’s mother. Unseen domestic and immigrant labour underscores the plants, drawing on Val Plumwood’s Master Model Theory which positions the woman as an invisible worker whom the master both relies upon and ignores.
Zheng Nuanzhi is our second artist in The Booth for 2020. The Booth is a space for site-specific proposals, open annually for applications from artists across any career stage.