The Product Love
The Product Love, 2009, 42 minutes, 2 channel video installation
Shot in Hangzhou, Los Angeles, and Berlin, The Product Love-Die Ware Liebe (2009) is a 42-minute, two-channel video installation which gravitates around the meeting between Walter Benjamin and the Chinese-American film actress Anna May Wong, and more specifically, around the text Benjamin wrote about meeting Wong for the German literary magazine Die Literarische Welt in 1928.
The first video alternates between three people each individually translating Benjamin’s German text into English. This illuminates the ease with which mistranslation occurs in Benjamin’s “reading” of Wong. The performance of translation gives distance to Benjamin’s text and allows the viewer space to reconsider Benjamin’s contextualization of Wong. On the other screen, two Chinese actors portray Benjamin and Wong’s meeting as an imaginary, intimate encounter. The installation restages and recontextualizes this meeting as a porno in China with Chinese television actors-a reversal of sorts, turning a Chinoiserie into a Western.