Vivian Lee is a young woman who, along with her partner Alvin Tan, was one half of the now defunct couple known as Alvivi. They became famous for blogging about their sex lives in 2012, and are currently facing criminal charges for posting a photo of themselves eating pork soup and wishing Muslims ‘happy breaking fast’ during Ramadan month last year.*
My portrait is based on conversations with Vivian over the course of two meetings. It consists of printed scans of my smartphone, showing images related to Vivian. The images come from various sources, including drawings I made of her, personal photos, screenshots of online comments, news articles, and images from her social media feeds.
This work brings together different views of Vivian: how I see her, how she presents herself, how the media portrays her, and online reactions towards her. Flattened and multiplied on screens across the Internet, these views reflect and feed back into each other. This is a portrait of us as much as Vivian.
*I completed this work in May 2014. It was shown in The Good Malaysian Woman, a group exhibition at Black Box, Publika. Shortly after, Alvin Tan went on the run. He did so without alerting anyone to his whereabouts, including his family and Vivian, who remained in Malaysia. In Sept 2014, he resurfaced online, announcing that was he was in America and planned to seek political asylum there.
I also wrote an in-depth essay about meeting Vivian for the exhibition catalogue. You can find it here.
Art Klitique has a good review of the show.