Artist Isaac Chong Wai processes societal shifts, global tensions, and collective traumas into multifaceted works that span performance, installation, video, photography, and painting. Capturing Forecast’s cross-disciplinarity, he participated in its second edition in 2017 as a nominee in the Choreography category, with Richard Siegel as mentor, and worked alongside dancers and choreographers as his fellow nominees rather than with visual artists. This opened his performance-art practice to new and perhaps unexpected experimentation.
Chong has had a busy few years since then, participating in numerous biennials and institutional exhibitions across Europe and Asia. Working between Hong Kong and Berlin, the artist often questions mechanisms of control and oppression in his work. His piece Rehearsal of the Futures: Police Training Exercises (2018), for example, examines police crowd-control training maneuvers. The work feels uncannily prophetic: Images of police officers using excessive force against protestors emerged this year from Hong Kong, Portland, Washington D.C., Lagos, and beyond. Forecast caught up with the artist in Istanbul, where he’s currently doing a residency at Kulturakademie Tarabya, run by the German Embassy and Goethe-Institut, to find out how this tumultuous year has affected him.