The following excerpt is from our Google Hangout with 紀紐約 Kai-Yuan Chi with Ho Yee and Melinda Lauw on 22 December 2015. This conversation focused on his video series Part of Exercise Trilogy <運動三部曲> at Treasure Hill Artist Village, Taipei in 2010 and is part of the Artist-Writer Pair Series.
Although my work may not be related to a specific community or social issue, it is related to a specific site and that makes it a social work.
[On his unique name]
My name is not related to my work. It’s a nickname that my university friends gave me while I was studying Fine Art and I have been using it as my name to make work. When I was in my first year, I wore a t-shirt with the words “New York” and because people were struggling to remember new names, they decided it would be easier to call me New York.
[On his sports-related works, including the series Exercise Trilogy <運動三部曲>]
I made a series of sports related works in the past year (2014). Sport is a very practical way for me to create interactions with people. I usually alter a sport and its sporting equipment so that when people use them, they would need to recreate or re-imagine their relation with the sport. Sport to me is a very restrictive thing. For example, when we think of tennis, we’ll associate it with a set of rules and scoring systems. I try to change the form of the equipment in order to change the way people play. I want to encourage them to recreate their own rules.
I think that there are generally two types of artist. The first type of artist looks inward to create work, showing people the artist’s own world. But I don’t use this method. I’m outward-facing in my work and this automatically makes my work have a conversation with society, people, space and relationships. Although my work may not be related to a specific community or social issue, it is related to a specific site and that makes it a social work.
[On society-related artworks]
Social movements have specific purposes and goals. Art can, of course, have a goal as well, but it can also exist without one. Social movements have a desire to for instance, influence votes, but to me making art like that would be siding with a particular political force. You’re not producing new positions but merely following the crowd. Art’s power is definitely not as strong as social movements. Art works have less power as they are experienced more individually. They have less influential power. This is a difference I have realised and accepted.