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Tansy Xiao

Tansy Xiao is an artist, curator, and writer based in New York. Xiao creates theatrical installations with non-linear narratives that often extend beyond the fourth wall. Her work explores the immense power and inherent inadequacy of language through the assemblage of stochastic audio and recontextualized objects. She finds solace in the unknown, ludicrousness in the authorities, and absurdity in the geopolitical demarcations that separate and differentiate people.

Xiao’s work has been shown at Queens Museum, New Media Caucus, Piksel Festival, Sound Scene, HASTAC Conference, UKAI Projects, The American Society for Theatre Research, University of Porto, Osaka University of Art, The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, New Adventures in Sound Art, Pelham Art Center, The Immigrant Artist Biennial, Azarian McCullough Art Gallery, among others. She has received grants and support from NYSCA Electronic Media & Film | Wave Farm, Brooklyn Arts Council, Foundation for Contemporary Arts and Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center.

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Proposed Work-In-Progress: The Circumlocution Chamber, an audience-participatory networked chatroom where the nouns in user input sentences are automatically substituted with their dictionary definitions and read out by randomly assigned synthetic voices. Certain keywords will also trigger sonic, visual events in the virtual space. As a result, the performer and audience collectively assemble a web-based experimental film.

It exposes the linguistic strategies employed by politicians and authority figures to evade addressing the core subject matter. The floating objects in the space include a totalitarian monument, a space structure, a royal seat, a military vehicle, and numerous seeds of the rubber tree, a vegetation that played a significant role in global colonialism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leading to economic exploitation, land appropriation, and forced labor. Whenever the objects of power collide, they emit shushing sounds, compelling the participants to silence themselves. By clicking the "Control" key, the viewer gains temporary control over the floating objects for a span of 15 seconds while generating more rubber tree seeds. Certain keywords will trigger an eruption that unveils a cluster of rocks known as the conflict minerals, denoting minerals that are mined in areas affected by armed conflict and human rights abuses in Central Africa. These minerals are widely used in manufacturing the electronic devices that we use today.

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