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Adynda or size does matter

Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries

A short road movie through Amsterdam in rhythmic blocks of text. Three protagonists: a nameless Asian man behind the wheel, a female concubine called Adynda and the illicit city of Amsterdam with its many canals, streets and houses without curtains.

The story is told from the perspective of the Asian, who takes leave of his senses when lady Adynda casually tells him that size (=small) and colour (=yellow) matter, alluding to male genitalia, HIS male genitalia. Cast adrift by the denigrating remarks about his genital tool, for his sexual performance is then debatable and his manhood along with it, he tears through the streets of Amsterdam like a macho gone wild, the city that for him is THE model for the white-male-sexual norm, for those who do not have to doubt their own sexual performance.

Woman and city combined with a dropping blood sugar level cause the man to flip his lid more and more. He accelerates, brakes, tears round, screeches, and races. Evidently, even a poorly endowed fellow does have his primitive passions. Are there to be innocent victims?

Luckily a catharsis comes. At the end of the story the man parks his car at the roadside and takes his tied-up concubine against her will. He does this full of conviction, with so much energy that he gets concussion, for his head hits the car ceiling with every bounce off her lap. But bruises inside and outside are side issues here. Adynda becomes convinced of his sexual ability and begins to burble French words, the language of love, out of liberated happiness. Minable! Impuissant! So the size and colour are obviously less important than the hormones that drive it.

Adynda, or size does matter is a Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries project, an artist duo from Seoul consisting of the South Korean Young-hae Chang and the American Marc Voge. Their work is normally web based. Adynda or size doesn’t matter is an outdoor projection, one of their few projects not primarily made for the internet. (see www.yhchang.com) But the membrane covering all their work is essentially the same, the image language consists simply and solely of words, dancing haphazardly over the screen, always in Monaco-font, varying in size. They are pulsing rhythmic stories, heavily set to jazz music, so that sound and story become an amalgam, inextricably interwoven with each other. Jazz, however, is absent in this story. For music would be silenced by the violence of the street in an outside projection. Is it because of this, the absence of rhythmic vocal violence, that Adynda, or size does matter is more explicit, fuller than their other stories?

Humour and social criticism predominate in all their works, even if they are not laid on with a trowel. This also applies to Adynda, or size does matter, where we are confronted with racial clichés and taboos postulated in a playful manner yet undermined and twisted at the same time. I was a little shocked at first reading/experiencing, because I read the story as crude realism. I began to discover the humour at the second reading. The story is an intelligently constructed slapstick that evokes many comic images based on prejudices that are so magnified that they become ridiculous. I thought of a sexual ‘rite de passage’: how a man transforms from the cliché of an Asian, via the cliché of the white (Dutch) man into the cliché of the black man within a short time. And then the woman Adynda who, like a starlet from a cheap porno film, changes from a complaining, dissatisfied creature into a docile French serving girl through being raped. This absurdum based on stereotypes about men, women, races, nationalities and sex causes you to momentarily plumb your own hidden prejudices, pull them up to the light and shove them aside with a smile.

If you'd like to quote something: Willems, Inge. "Adynda or size does matter." Mediamatic Off-Line vol. 11 # 2 (2006).

Translation: Helen-Anne Ross

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