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“Birthday Bash”


A Performance piece set up in a photographic studio which oscillates between a poetic narration of a birthday celebration and an impassioned diaristic account.

“Birthday Bash” is a form of satire in relation to a celebratory event, yet the term “bash” could imply a positive or negative emotion. Set up within the atmosphere of a photographic studio, the performance oscillates between a poetic narration of a birthday celebration and an impassioned diaristic account. The experience of a traumatic emotional loss shakes a person out of their comfort zone, forcing them to adapt to a suddenly unfamiliar territory.

The departure of my grandfather brought a great change to my life - a new reality I never thought existed. When a loved one is completely ‘erased’ from our present life, we try our very best to preserve whatever memories we are left with and of them. As we know they will never be a physical part in our future life, we unconsciously alter our familiarised versions of them. Perhaps our sense of reality moves away from us as our memory, ideas and experiences fade. We gradually move towards the periphery, and we find ourselves at a crossroad with multiple signage, but pointing to nowhere. Here, we hear a cacophony of voices, distorted and morphing into hysterical laughter.

Why do we laugh? Do we laugh because we feel genuinely happy or do we laugh to conceal our “real” emotions from the rest of the society? Is laughter a cure or a defense mechanism from the trauma we refuse to face? Where is the line between humour and horror?

This performance plays on the notions of sensitivity, tragic and humor to  convey stark juxtapositions of comedy and grief, laughter with humiliation. In our perpetual state of existential isolation, can anyone really hear us? Having a camera pointed in my direction and recording the entire performance, am I creating and immortalising a made-up reality or is this truly my life?



© 2021 by Lai Lam Fave