Keer Yang 杨可儿

Shanghai, China

The boundaries between “self” and “others” became unclear, while at the same time a more trusting, empathetic, and generous space was created . . .

Underlying the possibility of any connection is an initial separation. So much of our identities are constituted as individuals—minds and bodies—from something that one might call “myself.” Keer Yang’s performances make visible—metaphorically, viscerally, and materially—the tensions between the I, you, and other by creating paired scenarios that play with the tension between separation and embodied intimacy. 

In Dripping, the glass wall creates a fully transparent but completely impenetrable barrier between two people as they trace the possibility of contact with clear liquid water. Through Parallel Touching, two performers start at a far distance and move closer, but never touch directly. Instead, each moves contact microphones across their skin. Those sounds then amplify reciprocally into the other’s headphones creating a moment of what Yang calls “shared touch.” In You, Me, and the Cup, two people breathe into cups, exchange them, and then put their own hands into the warm and humid breathe of the other that each cup captured. Through orchestrating these performances of sensory intimacy and mediation, Yang poetically highlights conditions of separation and possibilities of connection, simultaneously. — AY

Making Kin Categories

Dripping 滴落

2018, one piece of clear glass, two cups of water

Two participants stand on each side of the glass holding the cups. They dip their fingertips in the cups. Then, they place their fingers at the top of the glass, letting the water drip down naturally. The two participants then slowly move their fingers to trace the dripping water. The tracing continues until the droplets completely stop.

(Performers: Keer Yang, Jiwon Ham)

Dripping 滴落, 2018
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You, Me and the Cup 你, 我, 杯子

2018, cups

You and I each put our breath into our own cups
When you feel the warmth
You give me your cup
I give you mine
Put your hand in the cup that you hold until the air turns cold

(Performers: Keer Yang, Divyamaan Sahoo)

You, Me and the Cup 你, 我, 杯子, 2018
Play Video

Parallel Touch 平行抚摸

2018, contact microphones, custom audio amplifiers, noise-cancelling headphones, stereo cables, chairs

Slowly touch yourself with a contact microphone, while the intimate touching sound is delivered to another person who is listening. Start collecting sound by contacting your eyebrows, every eyelash, every inch of skin, and every single breath. Let another person’s touching sound lead you to touch yourself as they do; lead them, vice versa. In the process of leading and being led, mimicking and being mimicked, two participants reach a state of bodily and spiritual unity through listening-touching.

(Performers:  Keer Yang, Emma Kassel)

Artist Reflection —

Can the intimacy of touch be shared? Aside from personal history and social identity, are we willing to establish implicit intimacy and trust with another individual only as a “human”? In a world saturated with information and hyper-connections, these practices return spectators to a primitive state of body and consciousness. By focusing on the execution of trivial movements, these works transmit senses into elements of performance, sound, and kinetic installation. I zoom in on the ephemeral phenomena around us to deliver experiences that fascinate and mesmerize. 

About Keer Yang

Keer Yang positions herself at the intersection of the visual arts, performance, and technology. Her work begins from an immanent longing, a grasping for a certain moment. Letting fingertips follow a drop of dripping water on glass; gradually revealing minute fingerprints by pressing them against translucent layers; creating subtle visual phenomena by moving watery glass spheres in front of light—Yang makes slow and elementary gestures that pay attention to the almost-imperceptible that happens over time. She embraces materials and humans with a certain democracy, employing mundane objects as links in a poetic chain. Her works establish an immediate, intimate, and charged connection between individuals and materials, and at the same time, a more trusting and empathetic space. Yang holds an MFA in Art and Technology Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She currently lives and works in Shanghai, China.

Kindred Artists