Mixed media installation of a Shrine (Si Gu Tan), various collected noises and telephone recordings, extracts from original piece, Untitled Sound Piece
Video: Girl, 8mins, Soundscape I, 5 mins, Boy, 8 mins, Soundscape II, 5 mins
Performers: Ainsleigh Barber and Evan Willey
Camera: Sophie Le Roux
Voices: Erica Leung and Yeu Fong Mo.
Yeu-Lai Mo has transformed a railway arch into a recreation of a ‘room’ her family kept in the upstairs of their Chinese takeaway which housed a large-scale shrine called the ‘Si Gu Tan’. Its sole purpose was a space of private worship where family rituals took place, stories were enacted, and the artist’s father practised Chinese Shamanism.
A darkened immersive installation, with dimly lit stained and smoke-aged walls and the scents of incense and oil create a serene atmosphere as viewers are confronted by a 5ft shrine that dominates the room. The shrine is adorned with statues of both male and female Buddhas, pictures, sacred banners, and other personal paraphernalia.
Inspired by an old theatre technique called ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ which creates a holographic or ghost-like presence in a space, Mo has projected a looped video on a piece of black toile in the centre of the space. In the film, two life-sized figures re-enact martial arts movements and take on various meditation poses—rocking back and forth, hands held together in prayer—while in a trance state.
Yeu-Lai Mo would like to thank Emergency Exit Arts for their support for this project.
Upstairs was produced for Deptford X 2022 with the support of Arts Council England Developing your Creative Practice (DYCP) funding
In her practice through the use of photography, mixed media, video, sound, installation, and even food, Yeu-Lai Mo draws on personal memory, experiences and a particular space from her childhood to create semi- participatory immersive installations that explore ideas and critical alternatives for the perception of the British Chinese. Mo is a re-emerging artist who graduated from the RCA in 1997 and exhibited widely in the UK & China. Recently, she was awarded a DYCP fund from ACE to develop new work in 2021.
Photo credits: Yeu-Lai Mo, Upstairs, Deptford X 2022. Photo 1 by Nelta Kasparian. Photo 2 & 3 by Corey Bartle-Sanderson.