Wu Xiao Kang - A Dose of LIES


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synapseman

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#1
The Wu Xiao Kang Hoax

Last night, my colleagues and I were just talking about this "Xiao Kang" character, just as a conversation topic about photography, about life, and such.

I like taking pictures of the old and forgotten places in Singapore, not because I like to chase spooks like the good folk at SP*, but to make a link between our present and our past. If I could, I'd try to imagine what it must've been like when these complexes were functioning during they heyday. That's the reason why I often shoot alone.

View Road Hospital was a real find for me. I hadn't known about Xiao Kang yet. But it was tucked away at some corner of Singapore and I knew I had to go there because surely, there would've been stories to be told within those walls. Shortly after the shoot, I found out about "Xiao Kang". I was profoundly and immensely affected by what I saw and the intensity of these thoughts and feelings never subsided whenever I had a chance to think about that day when I explored the compound.

And now, the revelation (Straits Times, Monday July 2nd 2007, Life! Section page 7) that the whole thing was a hoax has left me with feelings that range from utter disgust and disappointment right down to utter disillusionment about all I've been trying to do. To those "artists" concerned, no matter how you want to slice it or dice it, as far as I am concerned

YOU GUYS ARE LIARS. Liars through and through.

You've toyed with the emotions and feelings of many, and have EXPLOITED the mentally ill for your own sick, selfish, personal gains. For the sake of art? For "giving exposure" to the plight of these people? That's just all bullshit that you're spinning to justify your perverted actions. You've played everybody for a bunch of saps. The only thing you've now achieved is to increase scepticism and cynicism that is already endemic in this population. In my book, you guys are no better than those who peddle child pornography.

So who are you helping now, huh?
 

sbs99

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Jan 17, 2002
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#3
i think its the way the photos are linked together, and the captions make it impressive. The photos alone dun quite cut it.

And yup, its View Road, been there a few times, but now its totally out of bounds, increased patrols. :bsmilie:
 

#4
i think its the way the photos are linked together, and the captions make it impressive. The photos alone dun quite cut it.

And yup, its View Road, been there a few times, but now its totally out of bounds, increased patrols. :bsmilie:
One thing is, the building is only 3 storeys high (4 storeys if counting roof). You're unlikely to die jumping from 4 floors. Might as well try 12 floors HDBs (CHOY! Don't try hor! :bsmilie: ).

The photographer is composed enough to compose the photos so nicely?

And yes, claiming to be shooting in film, and yet I can see photos were edited.

As I said before, the ENTIRE story is "art" or so being claimed as such.
 

Nisa

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Aug 13, 2004
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#7
http://www.straitstimes.com/Life%2521/Life%2BPeople/Story/STIStory_134822.html

July 2, 2007
A dose of lies
By Adeline Chia
A SET of photographs said to be taken by a schizophrenic Singaporean photographer who later killed himself has been creating a stir on the Internet.

Some 100 people signed a petition, which has since been taken down, asking for the return of Wu Xiao Kang's last roll of film from a unnamed German institute.

It turns out that the institute does not exist, and neither does Wu.

A Singapore art collective called A Dose Of Light had made up the character and the petition as part of a 'conceptual artwork' to show viewers how schizophrenics see the world.

The 36 photographs will be shown at an exhibition called Out Of Focus, which opens at City Hall on Friday. The exhibition is part of Month Of Photography, organised by marketing communications company Phish Communications to promote photography as an art form.

The pictures supposedly came from the last roll of film Wu took, in the compound of the former View Road Hospital in Woodlands for the mentally ill.

But they were actually taken by members of the collective, comprising Robert Zhao, 24, a fine art student in London's Camberwell College of Arts, Angelique Pan, 28, a Berlin-based artist and Ang Song Nian, 24, a photography assistant at Nanyang Technological University.

They spun a tale on their website, http://adoseoflight.com/overdose/xiaokang.html, about how Wu was a schizophrenic who killed himself in 2005 at the age of 26.

Zhao told Life! over the phone from London that it was the only way to let people experience how schizophrenics perceived the world.

He said: 'Some of us would like to believe that Xiao Kang is fiction and some of us relate to him like an old friend. How to get someone to believe and not believe in something at the same time? This was the best way.'

He added that the group decided to come clean because Silver Ribbon a group that promotes awareness of mental illness in Singapore, wanted to exhibit Wu's 'work'.

'To us it is a conceptual artwork, to them it's not.'

The collective told the group the truth yesterday and is awaiting a reply.

Photographer Tay Kay Chin, 41, who selected the pieces to be shown in the exhibition despite being aware of the hoax, said: 'It is a quiet mourning for someone, done tastefully. It was well put together and thought out.'

But some people who bought into the Wu Xiao Kang story were unimpressed.

Law student Tey Kian Siang, 24, said: 'I could see his suffering in the pictures. Now that I know he's fake, it seems quite pointless and distasteful. Don't they have anything better to do?'

But photographer Chris Yap, 38, thought otherwise. He said: 'It's not exploitative because the group gained nothing. They wanted to tell a story and it is well-told.'


Out Of Focus is on at City Hall from Friday to July 29. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 11am to 6pm. Admission is free.



Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement & Condition of Access
 

mattlock

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Feb 28, 2004
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#8
I don't know how this raises positive awareness for schizophrenia...
btw, there is a very very good singaporean photographer who has schizophrenia.
 

Nisa

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#9
Personally, I don't find it amusing or "it was the only way to let people experience how schizophrenics perceived the world." Unless one of them is a schizophrenic, how do they understand what a person who is going thru it, feel.

I think i would definitely go for the exhibition, and leave a feedback for them

" Thank you for SCREWING with my emotions, u had achieved ur goals! SLEEP WELL tonight!:thumbsd: "
 

Mar 13, 2007
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#10
riding on public sympathy -_- this will only bring about increase apprehension and suspicion to those who really are suffering
 

#11
Personally, I don't find it amusing or "it was the only way to let people experience how schizophrenics perceived the world." Unless one of them is a schizophrenic, how do they understand what a person who is going thru it, feel.

I think i would definitely go for the exhibition, and leave a feedback for them

" Thank you for SCREWING with my emotions, u had achieved ur goals! SLEEP WELL tonight!:thumbsd: "
Sometimes I tend to over analyse things, and I didn't fall for this.

Whatever the case, emotions are a sensitive thing, shouldn't play with emotions by lying. At least should had said it's fiction and not letting people believe it's real. :angry:
 

mattlock

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#12
I think it may be in bad taste
yes if one of them is schizophrenic then perhaps it may be more justifiable.
and suicide is a touchy subject...
and I don't think that fooling people and then calling it art is very good for the word "art" in singapore
 

Nisa

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#14
it's like giving hope to a person's life.

Might not have achieve alot in this life ( a person who have negative views on his/her life ) but before he/she dies, at least they had achieve something, like shooting a roll of shots to leave behind.

Sucide is definitely not a joke, i wonder how many had thought, that this Wu thing can also be something they could do.
 

Del_CtrlnoAlt

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Feb 15, 2003
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#15
i suggest these 'kids' go to a mental institution to check in for a few weeks then come take these pictures again... without experiencing the true form of what goes on really in there, how do they know how the schizo patient feel?

any pics i can see?
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#19
Ah, I'd checked the photos out yesterday.

To be brutally honest, if I were to see the photos 'standalone' (without whatever 'artistic story' they put together) that is, my comments would be no less than, "Erm... Ok. Nice snaps."

I thought photography was to hit an objective whereby photos tell a story by themselves, where viewers see the photos and are able to draw their own conclusion and not thru a specific story whatsoever?

Can't help but notice that inanimate shots of inanimate objects with shallow DOF like those are 'in the vogue' of late when simply just standalone, they probably held no meaning to it.

As for drawing attention, these artists probably got it... more than what they'd expected for. Including negative ones. Also, it made me wonder abt the word 'artist' in Singapore. An artist is one that invites controversy unintentionally (by way of interpretation) or do they initiate controversy thru their works (put nastily - "Attention seeking")? Which goes?

Probably IMO, "Photos reflecting the sights of a Schizopheric", is just another tagline to make ppl see the photos. I personally dun see hw the photos truly reflect the sights of a Schizopheric to be honest.

Ok. Shoot me guys.
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#20
ya... have not seen the pics yet, but i'd deem it more like an insult to them... unless they can prove they had done an intensive research on this field to understand how these patients feel...
My dear friend, check this out: http://adoseoflight.com/overdose/xiaokang.html

Now let me know of ur opinion and see if it matches mine.

Technical superiority of framing, DOF, thirds rule is there.
Compositional skills complemented by storyline.
Photos standalone.... well.... "Ok"
 

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