Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries
The artist duo Young-Hae Chang and Marc Voge, who now live in South Korea, are among the pioneers of Internet-based art. Together they produce digital, text-based works with popular music soundtracks. Their working methods were shaped by the multimedia software platform Flash, as long as it was available. Here they rely on concrete or abstract poetry, narrative literature and experimental cinema. The impetus for the work How to Slaughter a Hog Humanely, developed specifically for the project ocular witness: PIG CONSCIOUSNESS, was the decline in German pork imports to Korea. The supply chain issues caused by COVID-19 and African swine fever are, according to the narrative, the reason for domestic slaughtering. In a functional tone, the video gives precise step-by-step instructions, including the proper use of a bolt gun, knife and winch. Humane slaughter, i.e. slaughter with minimal suffering, is one of the topics in current animal welfare debates.¹
However, the practical instructions are overlaid with the Graeco-Roman legend of the satyr Marsyas. A painting by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) from 1574 and known as The Flaying of Marsyas is used as a theme for the two avatars giving the instructions. The satyr dares to challenge the god Apollo to a musical contest. Marsyas plays on a double flute he has found – Athena had discarded it because she thought it did not suit her. Apollo, in turn, resorts to an unfair trick in the competition: when events threaten to turn to his disadvantage, he accompanies his kithara playing with singing – something the flute player can hardly match. The muses thus choose Apollo as the better musician. Apollo himself is said to have skinned the defeated Marsyas in order to punish him for arrogantly challenging a god. It could equally well be that Apollo, the representative of order, intended to eliminate the witness to his unfair actions – a satyr and nature spirit. Like so many ancient legends, this one is a dramatic exaggeration of familiar human behaviour: What is arrogance? What is fair? What happens to the defeated?
¹ As an example, reference is made here to Jana C. Glaese, “Kann Schlachten human sein?”, in: philosophie magazin, 2019, https://www.philomag.de/artikel/kann-schlachtenhuman-sein (retrieved: 10.5.2023).
Young-Hae Chang und Marc Voge
live in Seoul and have been working together since 2000.
E 2022 Please Mistake Me for Nobody, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (SE) • 2021 Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, M+, Hong Kong, CN; The Best Entertainment Around, Tate Modern, London (on- and offline)
P SOUVENIR, n.g.k., Berlin, 2023