YoU Dispatch Questionnaire: Mo Kong
September 1, 2022
At the conclusion of YoU, the Artists-In-Residence were asked seven questions about their experience and the overall mission of this collaborative program. Five artists shared their responses, which can be viewed in their entirety below. A large-format broadsheet was also produced to highlight a selection of answers and images that delve into the strengths and challenges of interconnectedness, and the continued work to be done within the institution.
Question 1: Was there a relationship you built during YoU that impacted your work in a meaningful way?
The experience of working with the La Jornada and Queens Museum Cultural Food Pantry and the New New Yorkers program integrates my practice with the community and pushes me to understand the relationship between artists, immigrants, and institutions from a more realistic perspective. My project analyzes the dilemma of survival within immigrant communities in the contemporary political and economic environment from the perspective of food preservation. The cooperation with the Cultural Food Pantry, however, has made me aware of the cultural gap between immigrants. I enjoyed this collaboration very much, and the programs developed around the work also gave the work itself a deeper social meaning.
Question 2: Which theme was most relevant to your work throughout YoU?
The Future. Personal Ark is a reasonable inference about the living conditions of Asian immigrants in the future, referring to the current situation of the environment and economy, and also correcting the injustice of history.
Question 3: How has your work embraced uncertainty?
The uncertainty in my work is reflected in the imprecision of future predictions. The use of pseudoscientific instruments such as distillation systems and beakers and organic matter like freeze-dried fruit, live snails, and dried leaves in the work adds uncertainty and uncontrollability to the sturdy structures containing them. Corresponding to the unpredictable and ever-changing economic and political trends in real life, the work provides a space for reflection.
Question 4: What are two things you learned from YoU?
1. The ability to work with kids. 2.The process of working with fabricators and professionals.
Question 5: What does a “community museum” mean to you?
To provide children from immigrant families with the opportunity to learn about contemporary art and to allow them to see the possibility of becoming an artist
Question 6: Did YoU change the way you exist within museums?
My exhibition, Personal Ark, challenged the Museum’s traditionally odorless white-walled space by inviting less desirable scents – from a Western perspective – to take over the space, forcing visitors to react to the work before they saw it. Exhibiting living organisms that needed daily care also posed a challenge to the maintenance of the Museum. YoU created a platform for me to really bring my work to new communities, especially groups that I initially thought were not my audience. The resulting conversation between the work itself and the communities interacting with it were unexpected. This definitely pushed me to think more about how to bring contemporary art to the local community – especially immigrant groups – and what this means to them and their kids.
Question 7: What do you think is the most important question or issue about the role of museums that arose during YoU?
Can non-traditional exhibition methods be accepted by the art world?