you want to build a ship, then don't drum up men to gather wood,
and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1900-1944, French writer (“The
Communication describes the process of exchanging information, usually
via a common protocol. Humans communicate in order to share knowledge
and experiences, give or receive orders, or cooperate. Common forms
of human communication include sign language, speaking, writing
or gestures. New communication technologies are being developed
rapidly and made more widely available. In the 21st century, the
century of modern technology and space travels, information is power.
The power that brings our lives together and makes our dreams come
true. In a world so small, without boundaries and differences, communication
is the true source of the modern world. It provides our path for
The current information revolution is dramatically increasing the
potential for sharing information across the globe. But still emotional,
cultural and physical communication barriers remain, even grow.
It is a commonplace to say that our contemporary world is a complex
one, whether we look at the macro-level of international relations
or at the micro-level of everyday life. Overall, it seems increasingly
difficult for us to have an adequate description and understanding
of the world we live in, and correspondingly, how we should communicate
“No one would talk much in society, if he knew how often he
Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832, German novelist, dramatist, poet,
humanist, scientist and philosopher.
As immigration continues and communities of different cultures mix
together people will be exposed to new and perhaps even unfamiliar
customs, traditions, and languages in their own communities. Today
as many as 100 million people are living outside the country of
their birth, but millions more latter-generation immigrants maintain
their ethnic identities. Technological advances like the Internet
allow contact with cultures around the world at the touch of a key,
national borders lose their importance, but still failing to share
a common communication protocol remains an important barrier in
many parts of the world.
“A world community can exist only with world communication,
which means something more than extensive shortwave facilities scattered
about the globe. It means common understanding, a common tradition,
common ideas, and common ideals.”
Robert M. Hutchins, 1899-1977, American educator and university
Frank Woo’s installation COMM.BLK tries to illustrate the
importance of communication and the growing challenge of transferring
information between regions and cultures. He created a vivid demonstration
of the power and danger of communication. With COMM.BLK Frank Woo
animates and encourages visitors to participate and thus educates
through an interactive approach, hoping to leave a remaining impact
in people’s mind.
The installation describes how the interpretation of the same –
verbally or nonverbally exchanged – information varies according
to the respective background and influencing factors. The work portrays
communication from four different perspectives according to the
four points of the compass – North, East, South and West.
COMM.BLK also deals with the barriers, obstructions and blocking
factors of communication and the distortion of information through
perception, censorship or manipulation as to be found in our everyday
life. Visitors can physically experience that in order to get a
clear understanding of certain information it may be necessary to
give up familiar and habitual communication patterns and to shift
paradigms by looking at the information from various perspectives.
Only to experience communication from different angles can lead
to a wide comprehension, without this leap into different paradigms
the absorption of information will be limited to a distant impression
and connotation. Thus this installation demonstrates clearly: Whether
communication will imply positive or negative effects, whether information
evokes negative or positive reactions, will crucially depend on
the respective context and point of view.
With COMM.BLK Frank Woo created a colossal walkable art piece, which
predominantly consists of polystyrene, a polymer made from the monomer
styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is commercially manufactured
from petroleum. Polystyrene was accidentally discovered in 1839
by Eduard Simon, an apothecary in Berlin, Germany. The material
is widely used as insulation in building structures and as molded
packing material for cushioning fragile equipment inside boxes.
Frank Woo collected a vast amount of used polystyrene from rubbish
dumps and back lanes all around the city. Polystyrene represents
one of the non-recyclable wastes of our society. Even though recycle
programs for polystyrene exist in other parts of the world, a respective
system has not been introduced in Malaysia due to the lacking economic
efficiency of polystyrene recycling. By transforming used polystyrene
into collectible art pieces, Frank Woo wants to highlight the importance
of environmental protection through responsible handling of non-disposable
waste. Visitors can pick part of the artwork, their collection will
be signed by the artist and their pick will be listed in the documentations
on the artwork.
About the artist:
Frank Woo is a young artist from Hong Kong residing in Malaysia.
His candid approachability and creative sensitivity along with his
casual sincerity and brand of spontaneity form his refreshing, distinct
and atypical personality. His previous installation works mainly
deal with green politics, issues of refuse and recycling, his art
pieces are composed from materials such as egg trays, scraps of
metal or pieces of wood that have been discarded or junked by individuals,
shops, factories. He had even assembled wood discarded from coffin-making
industries for some of his installation works! Frank Woo’s
works include the famous gigantic sculpture ‘Dancing Shadow’,
which is permanently exhibited in the Hilton Hotel at KL Sentral.
About the exhibition
Galleriiizu Kuala Lumpur, Mezzanine Floor (Above EON Bank),
UOA Centre, Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
07th April 2006
(Artwork will be on display until 27th April)
Tel: 03 23801121
Fax: 03 23801126
After being exhibited in Kuala Lumpur, the installation will travel
throughout South East Asia. During this journey additional features
will be added to the installation relating to the respective location.
The evaluation of the artwork will be documented and submitted to
various Biennales around the world, among others the Biennale in
Shanghai and New York.