Musquiqui Chihying

Musquiqui Chihying

Musquiqui Chihying's artistic endeavors focus on issues of post- and trans-modernity in the Global South, postcolonial identity, and contemporary technology.

Musquiqui Chihying's works have been exhibited in numerous international art institutions, including WIELS in Brussels, Art Sonje Center in Seoul, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Neue Berliner Kunstverein in Berlin, Power Station of Art in Shanghai, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, MoCA Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei and Taipei Fine Arts Museum, among others. His film works have been screened at various film festivals, including Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, Rotterdam Film Festival in the Netherlands, and the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Taipei Film Festival. In 2023, he was awarded the Tung Chung Prize by the Hong Foundation in Taiwan. In 2019, he received the LOOP Video Art Award from the Han Nefkens Foundation and the Joan Miró Foundation in Spain. He was also nominated for the Berlin Art Prize in Germany that same year.

The Lighting

HD Video / 21:00 min / 2021

01:15 min excerpt

Light is the spectre that hovers around photographic technologies. From analog to digital and from light-sensitive coating to computer algorithms, light always occupies an irreplaceable place in competing image-making technologies. Throughout the process of negotiating with light, however, it cannot be disputed that white supremacy in this competition has “unconsciously” and “imperceptibly” shaped human prejudices. Jean-Luc Godard was one of the first white persons to (self-)reflect this crisis in the discourses of the former West: when he was invited to Mozambique assisting the country’s development of image in 1977-78, he realised that Kodak films that were mainstream of the time could not be accurately exposed for portraits featuring subjects of dark skin tones. We cannot simply attribute this technical failure to inadequate equipment for the reason that even the most advanced algorithms used today still show a rather high error rate when determining certain group of people and their skin tones.

The Lighting aims to revisit and clarify the issue of discrimination rooted in technological development and image production through an interdisciplinary exploration. The work comprises three narratives—three professional Togolese photographers explore how to use instruments to compensate for insufficient exposure for dark skin tones; a leading software engineer developing facial recognition algorithms at Taiwan’s MediaTek talks about how they have created a camera algorithm that is highly popular on the African continent; moreover, the artist uses Kodak’s Ektachrome, a popular film in the 70s, to produce a kung fu film in the style of exploitation film, using images of the famous Black martial art film star, Jim Kelly, in Bruce Lee’s movies in the 70s. The work is also interlaced with an animated Bruce Lee as the narrator trained by facial motion capture and a speech recognition algorithm.