Chinese X Jewish cultures
Supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council
All of the works in this exhibition are newly created for the curatorial theme “Little Albert”. I present three different installations that transcend biblical experience to the fast changing Hong Kong, alluding to pseudo-diaspora that individuals are sharing. My works are assemblage of found objects I have collected in my studio in Hong Kong, and materials that I bought from China to build the metaphors.
Curatorial Statement — About a century ago (1920), American psychologist John Broadus Watson and his assistant conducted a controversial experiment called The Little Albert Experiment. The participant of the experiment, Albert, was about 11-month old. When Albert was playing with a white rat, Watson hit a suspended iron rod with a hammer to make an extremely loud, piercing sound, which made Albert cry and feel scared. Watson used the infant’s conditioned reflex to pair the loud noise with the white rat, making Little Albert afraid of the white rat. Later, Watson found that Little Albert was not only afraid of white rats, but of other furry things as well, such as rabbits, dogs, and seals. When Watson showed up in a Santa Claus mask with a white beard, Little Albert became uneasy, and even showed the same fearful response. Albert lived a short life. He died of brain swelling when he was six. He did not have the opportunity to receive treatment for related trauma. he probably did not know how to deal with these fears — if Albert grew up in another place and time in a parallel universe, what would happen to his growth?
Over the years, we, whether as individuals or the entire society, have been struck by different “hammers”. Facing predicaments exceeding one’s ability to understand, some are heart-broken but trying their best to live, some end up just like Little Albert failing to ask for help, some choose to run away, and some refuse to forget. In some sense, perhaps there is an Albert in each of our hearts, or, we are all grown-up versions of Albert — However, with our experience, can we really forget all the fears, helplessness, and trauma?
Five artists of different media are invited to visit Little Albert from different directions through the imagined grown up Albert. In their works, some use a humorous attitude to deal with, some choose to view humanity from an isolated perspective, some still believe that we should be brave and optimistic about our world. In these precarious times, the curator hopes everyone could see their Albert through this exhibition. Compared to Little Albert from a century ago, today’s Little Albert is not alone.