Cause & Effect (2013)

When I was asked to include “personal” into the work, I was totally stuck; the word personal is always something that I am afraid of, I fully understand the reason why having personal, or intimate elements in an art work is good, but I do not usually like to share personal issues, maybe because I do not like the idea of being accused for attention seeking; or simply because I don’t know myself well enough to construct something that symbolizes parts of me. When I need to not simply share it but to illustrate it, it makes it even harder. 

I could not come up with anything for the whole week, frustrated and worried; until one day something happened and I got mad, I lost my temper so I punched things out of rage and almost broke my fingers. It is at the moment I notice something about myself; I’ve always been a very emotional person, especially when it comes to anger management I become a total amateur. 

It brings me back to “what is the reason that made me lost it?” I’m not talking about the exact reason, but the thing that initiates my wrath – it is Stress. So I thought about it for a while, whenever the word stress comes in mind, I cannot help but to relate to the cliché saying of “stressed backwards is desserts”, then I got my mind on Tea times, where people enjoy a luxuriously packaged dessert set (talking from my experience in North America), having it with elegant cups and plates, and act according to civil manners. This is how we “de-stressed”.

You may ask “how does this relate to my personal story?” Well, first of all, I break things when I get angry, it is something that I recently discovered about myself. Secondly I never really get the idea of being fake and have desserts with friends (being fake as in acting like you can afford high-class luxuries, as if we suddenly become nobles therefore we need to act like one). This is especially true when I go tea with my friends, a bunch of university students having overpriced cakes and tea with our parent’s money. 

Now, relating back to the function of de-stress, if tea can help releasing stress then it should be able to perform the same function for me, in my way. Thus, breaking it. Apart from my personal reasons, I hope to construct the installation in a way that it shows contrast between the rawness of human emotion and the fragility of civil etiquette. Bursting in rage and breaking things in the social setting is such a forbidden act, it often makes me question the priority of showing emotion versus taming it under the circumstance. 

Breaking the classy plate, breaking the overpriced cake, breaking the etiquettes, breaking away from my stress. Stress is the cause and the breaking is the effect, but at the same time, it goes the other way; the breaking is the cause and de-stressing is the effect. How is it different if I eat it, or break it?