Whispers That Got Away
SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada
April 6 – June 2, 2018

Curator / text: Hera Chan, Thy Anne Chu Quang, Kate Whiteway

Photography by Paul Litherland

“It will be argued here that understanding is always incomplete. It is constantly in the process of being established and infinitely recedes: understanding is never equivalent to translation.” Drawing a line between translation and understanding, Perchance (2018) hangs your fortune on sheets of silk. Handwrought by the artist, the flowing heptagramic structure is constructed with woven hair, embroidered appliqué, stitched sequin and lace, with prophetic intention embedded in each of the layers. A folk inquiry, stamped iterations of the I-Ching hexagram are mapped onto the silk skin of the work. Lin has forged their own system for divination and created a chamber for the informant and participant. Seven long sheets propose a structure to be stepped in to.

Perchance is crafted as Lin’s personal sigil, a pulling back of the veil of objectivity within the alternative knowledge system of divining arts. If the diviner’s practice is to find patterns, in this case 23 of them, the execution of Perchance is also based on ritual, repetition and contingency. Shaking and tossing the bundle of sticks until one falls to the floor is part of the oracular act that gives the seeker a number that corresponds to a fortune. The 23 divination booklets of fortune are composed with words chosen by fate. Cut up from various host materials—including the artist’s dreams—the fortunes are interpreted and translated. Inspired by Burroughs’ cut-up technique, the fortunes beckon the conversion of chance into instruction. The diviner’s ability is premised on an intuitive engagement with personal possibilities and socially determined networks of information distribution. 

Perchance, 2018
Silk, cotton, embroidered appliqué, sequin, lace, hair, ink, raku pottery, reed, paper, letterpress text
200 cm x 200 cm x 220 cm
Photography by Paul Litherland

Perchance, 2018
Installation view
Photography by Paul Litherland

Perchance, 2018
Installation view
Photography by Paul Litherland

Perchance, 2018
Detail
Photography by Paul Litherland

Perchance, 2018
Detail
Photography by Paul Litherland

Perchance, 2018
Detail
Photography by Paul Litherland

Perchance, 2018
Installation view
Photography by Paul Litherland