YuTung Natalie Hou is a visual artist who was born in Taiwan, raised within the Chinese and Japanese culture, and then exposed to western education in America. In 2017 She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art specializing in Print Media with an elective in Graphic Design.
Similar to language, art is a tool to communicate, a device to deliver ideas. I see a parallel in the process between communication and art practice. Because of my diverse background I am able to navigate three different languages—Mandarin Chinese, English and Japanese. Following my interest in language, I especially pay attention to the cyber-social world of pictorial communication. I am fascinated by the use of emojis and emoticons because they create a primitive tongue that can be understood by diverse groups of people without rhetorical weight.
Human society has a long history of translation, which originated from the desire to communicate with the others. In my work, I recreate the process of translation and try to discover what information has been ‘lost’ or ‘added’. I think about how the original meaning of a word or a phrase can transit through multiple phases (verbal/literal/visual). In that sense, I am drawn to mix-media agencies, which include combining different printmaking techniques with digital fabrication. During my experiments with language, I found out that humor and frustration are the common byproducts of translation, especially when taking into account cultural and regional differences. Through the translation process, there are moments that the translated product becomes culturally illiterate. Instead of working toward creating a universal language, I am more intrigued with the existing struggles of translation that creates a slippage of meaning entangled with cultural and ethnic differences.