Phantom Banquet - Nordenhake
Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm
14.5.2020 - 18.6.2020
Lap-See Lam's much anticipated debut exhibition at Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm
to draw on her lyrial and charged exploration of the Cantonese diaspora in Sweden through the
history of Chinese restaurants in Stockholm.
In a scenographed group of new sculptures and an immersive Virtual Reality journey we are taken
on a real-time archeological dig that, like a sci-fi sub-genre, appears both ancient and futuristic.
Instead of exploring historical civilizations Lam summons apparitions from her family's legacy in the
city. But Lam's work is not limited to the biographical. Using fiction as a tool and particular interior
aesthetics of these restaurants as a formal language, Lam draws attention to the cultural history of
these spaces and how the idea of a place constructs notions of cultural identity and belonging.
In the first space Lam reifies fragments from now-defunct restaurants' interiors by extracting data
from 3D scans. Chairs, a table, a stove, all take form as ruins, like the disintegrating furniture of a
ship wreck seen through a watery mirage. Digitally stripped down to their bare shell-like surfaces,
the environments are rendered as slivers of space and time.
A neon ghost illuminates the following room in cherry-red. The figure is not a threatening spectre
but an ancestor – a conduit for previous generations, stitched together from the fragments of people
accidentally captured in the 3D scans of the real world restaurants. It sits sentry and oversees the
to a staged dining room. As in séance, visitors seat themselves at a round table where
they are transported via VR headsets into another spatial reality. A story narrated, perhaps by the ghost,
accompanies the viewer through architectural spaces that are rendered as skins, at once both familiar
and alien. Rooms are suspended in a void and dislocated from the infrastructure of their physical
Within these disembodied establishments, which we individually populate in our VR spaces, Lam
reveals hidden histories and futures. The exhibition constitutes an expanded anthropological enquiry
that explores the fluidity of language, identity and cultural histories.
Elements within this exhibition were produced with the generous support of Christel Engelbert,
Chairwoman of the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation, and were commissioned and presented
first at Performa 19, New York.
Photo: Carl Henrik Tillberg
You can experience a low resolution version of the VR artwork on your smartphone with a VR headset at
home. Headphones are recommended. Please follow the instructions under the clip.
PHANTOM BANQUET VR
Voiceover script: Lap-See Lam (inspired from an idea by Lap-See Lam & Wingyee Wu)
Edited and translated by Ping-Kwan Lam, Yuk-Lin Lam & Lap-Yan Lam
Voice Actor: Ping-Kwan Lam
Sound Designer and Composer: Marlena Lampinen
Sound Mixing and Mastering: Linus Hillborg
Real Time Engine consultant: Martin Christensen
Real Time Engine consultant: Dennis Härmä
Motion Capture Studio: DevinSense
VR Producer: Sofia Curman
Textile fabrication: Emmy
Rengfors Frost & Emelie Lännqvist
Table fabrication: Adam Gustafsson
The artist would like to thank the restaurant staff and their
families at New Peking City,
Hang Chow, Mandarin City,
Ming Garden, Ming Palace, Bamboo Garden, Ho Wah,
Wing Shing, and Winner House.
Many thanks to
Sara Arrhenius, Royal Institute of Art and