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Program : Installations


Phantom Banquet


Phantom Banquet, 2019-20

VR 360 stereoscopic video, 9 min 51 sec.

Artist : Lap-See Lam

Venue : Baan Trok Tua Ngork

Phantom Banquet is a complex apparition of cultural belonging, a manifestation of memories as places that draw their identity from the Cantonese diaspora in Sweden. From Lap-See Lam’s grandmother’s restaurant that opened in the 60s in Stockholm to other Chinese restaurants, an archeological excavation becomes data from 3D scans that articulate a language of aesthetics and interior architecture, from the past to the future layered in shipwrecks navigated across generations. A visage of real and remembered space constructs a place out of time and space, a locating of somewhere always slipping in and out of neatly defined definitions. Familiarity hangs in the air, yet this place is not situated anywhere in particular, a shared cultural afterimage that resonates across geographies from Asia to Europe and back formed through collective memories. A specter crafted of the very same material of history narrates the scene, at once revealing the limits of empirical data and expanding the gaps in the fluidity of cultural histories. 

Presented in Bangkok’s Chinatown at an ancestral home, Phantom Banquet stirs and conjures suppressed stories, disturbing notions of a cohesive cultural landscape. When neighboring homes and buildings are vanishing every day in the face of development in the name of progress, the work is a haunting reminder of a place soon to only exist in the void, data, and memories. Seated around a common Chinese dining table as if in a seance, visitors are invited to dine on their own entangled identities. 

VR equipment support by PICO. 

Commissioned by and first presented at Performa 19 Biennial, New York.

Original music and Sound Design: Marlena Salonen
Sound Mixing and Mastering: Linus Hillborg
Voice actor: Ping-Kwan Lam
Translation and editing: Ping-Kwan, Yuk-Lin Lam, Lap-Yan Lam
Real Time Engine Consultants: Martin Christensen, Dennis Härmä
Motion Capture Studio: DevinSense
VR Producer: Sofia Curman

The artist would like to thank the restaurant staff and their families at New Peking City, Hang Chow, Mandarin City, Ming Garden, Ming Palace, Bamboo Garden, Ho Wah, Hong Kong, Wing Shing, and Winner House.