JUNE 12th NXNE – STEPHEN CHEN: “INTERIOR SONGS”
INTERIOR SONGS is a hybrid performance/installation piece that re-frames the interior as a simultaneous space and state (of mind). Conceived as a cabaret performance where songs ripple back in time, these ripples populate the space in the form of installation pieces constructed during the performance of the song itself, culminating in the space transformed into a collective installation. Each song harkens back to, and was composed in, a particular time period, from the digital age to the age of empires and colonialism.
INTERIOR SONGS investigates how the interior is a monad of external societal impulses that are both manifested and contradicted within. Inspired by the artist’s experience of exile, the work explores our vulnerabilities and insecurities we attempt to conceal from the world.
Stephen Chen is a multi-disciplinary artist, having been an avant-garde concert pianist, fine-art photographer, filmmaker, performance artist, poet, and opera singer. Despite studying film and photography in Singapore, his focus shifted to more immediate performance forms due to discomfort with the collusion of media and the fascist regime.
After fleeing and settling in Canada, Stephen’s interest in the social and political potential of visual media was revived when John Greyson created the role of St. Caesura in FIG TREES (2009) for him. Stephen’s work is often allegorical, integrating social commentary with pedagogy, and hybridizing forms to make them expressive. Central to his work are institutional structures of thought, and Man’s relationship with his surroundings – be it environment, cities, people, or objects.