Group 2

Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu, Mother's Tongue, 2018 © Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu

2.12 2019

Mother’s Tongue

In the collection you are able to view the work “Mother’s Tongue” by Lap-See Lam and Wingyee Wu. In this video work you will come along on a partyl speculative journey through the history of the Swedish Chineses restaurant. Language, identity, and life in the diaspora are explored through fictive monologues led by three generations of women. Read the introduction to the artwork here.

Chinese restaurants have been a familiar feature of Swedish cities since the late 1970s, embodying a foreign and exotic alternative. In three chapters set in the past (1978), present (2018), and future (2058), ”Mother’s Tongue” tells stories that revolve around social, cultural, and technological clashes.

Language, identity, and life in the diaspora are explored through fictive monologues led by three generations of women. The work also sheds light on preconceptions of proximity to Chinese culture that Chinese restaurants may create.

Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu, Mother's Tongue, 2018 © Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu
Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu, Mother's Tongue, 2018 © Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu

The use of 3D modelling and computer animation establishes a distance to the places described, emphasising the Chinese restaurant’s role as a scenography – a stage where guests may expect an experience comparable to travelling to a foreign country. At the same time, the Chinese restaurant serves as an real place in the everyday lives of people, many of whom are inhabitants in a new country.

A first version of ”Mother’s Tongue” was created as a mobile phone app and a walking tour of Stockholm that took users to three locations linked to existing or earlier Chinese restaurants.

You find the room in the Collection on floor 4

Map of Moderna Museet

Published 2 December 2019 · Updated 2 December 2019

News