Young Tseng

Young Tseng


Bureau of Thanks is an interactive installation-performance inspired by memories of form-fillers and petition writers set up with typewriters and folding tables outside the DMV offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I grew up. It is also inspired by LA poet Jen Hofer’s *escritorio publico* love-letter project.

In Bureau of Thanks I set up a desk to listen and scribe handwritten Thank You notes addressed to, “a Person, a Place, or a Time.” The messages are dictated to me by visitor-participants. I request permission to retain a carbon copy of the note, a gift from the visitor-participant to me. The original hand-scribed note is given to the visitor-participant with an envelope to send the note to its intended recipient, if they wish. The carbon copies are posted, suspended like prayer flags around the Bureau of Thanks, creating an ephemeral installation. Early versions of Bureau of Thanks were performed outdoors, usually sited near or under a tree. The carbon copied notes were attached to long colored threads so that visitors could read them.

Bureau of Thanks comes from my desire to create a “listening post” in reaction to the present time and worldwide culture that privileges speaking forcefully over listening carefully. With Bureau of Thanks I hope to create an opportunity for visitor-participants to experience a brief moment of being listened to, to have the undivided attention of another human being. All site requirements and equipment requests are focused toward this end.

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Young-Tseng moves between performance and installation art, finding ways to create shifts of perspective through attention to how human beings move and perceive the space around and between each other. His interest in movement and awareness comes from apprenticeship in mime, in the techniques of Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux’s Corporeal Mime. He is also indebted to the concepts and forms of Suzuki voice and physical actor training and to the Six Viewpoints technique for composing space and time conceived and developed by Mary Overlie. Young-Tseng received his MFA in Studio Art from Claremont Graduate University.

Posted in Artists 2019.