“This work was inspired by my déjà vu between the current pandemic situation and my experience of SARs in 2003 in Hong Kong.
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when cases started to be reported in mainland China in January, the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan started to wear masks to control the spreading of the virus, having learned from their experience of SARs. It is such a normal thing to do to wear a mask, to prevent catching or spreading the sickness in Asian societies.
Though here in Australia, somehow many Asian people who wore masks, became targets of racial abuse in public. I even experienced it in the Melbourne CBD when I was wearing one. I cannot figure out why wearing a mask as prevention, has become almost an Asian myth and considered as unscientific when such measure helped stop the SARs pandemic in 2003. Even the WHO encouraged people not to wear masks in the beginning.
To respond to this experience, I decided to reenact in drag, the WHO instruction of how to wear a mask that was only published in June, 5 months after the start of the global pandemic.
I then lip synced to a 1950s song by a Taiwanese singer, Grace Chang about sneezing. This is a critique of the the WHO’s slow reaction, of their rejection of Taiwan’s response due to political reason, and the increased risk to global health that has resulted.”
Scotty So as Scarlett So Hung Son as Grace Chang
Teaching You All About Hygiene
by Scotty So
Achoo Cha Cha (1950s) by Grace Chang
How to wear a fabric mask by World Health Organization
About Scotty So
Scotty So is an artist interested in the uncertainties of reality, and its relation to space and perception as expressed through found objects.
He works across mediums, using painting, photography, 3D printing, site-responsive installation, video, and drag performance to provoke humour and irony on the construct of identity and worldmaking.
Image credit: Wearing a mask was just an Asian hype No.2. Self-portrait by Scotty So.