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  Comprised of 13 short works, Confessions of a Salesman features new, old and remixed pieces of the artist’s best works from 1994 to 2008. Linked together through the autobiography of a fictionalized businessman, each thematic segment of the video explores facets of identity which constitute an Asian man in contemporary society.

For example, “Memory of Me” investigates photographic memory and the psychological scars of growing up; “Gold Mountain” pays tribute to early laborers in North America; “Yellow Pages” highlights stereotypes and misconceptions of Asian-ness; “Big Names” explores consumption within the framework of globalized culture; and “Men with Digital Cameras” is a present day critique of desire, self-image and representation.

The overall fabric of Confessions of a Salesman also reveals the artist’s fascination with cataloging the everyday. Both playful and satiric, the video presents a 55-minute rotation of pictures and sound in an unfolding pseudo film-like construct. By combining catchy tunes with provocative images, the artist creates non-linear narratives that evoke both individual and collective memory, from a deeply personal perspective, yet potentially universal kind of vision. In his signature style, Ho Tam intermixes high and low culture, alternating between his various roles as salesman, artist and everyman.

 

Long version:
2008
Total running time: 55 minutes
B/W and color, Stereo
Available format: Digital Video

Artist Statement:

Since most artists today must also be businessmen, who shuttle between the concerns of self-expression and mass appeal, my identification as a salesman suggests contradictions which riddle aesthetic practice within an increasingly global and capitalized world.  However, I am also interested in tracing my own personal history and identity as it intersects with mainstream culture.  In doing so, I seek, therefore, to reinvent aspects of the diasporic journey of a certain Asian man in the world today. 

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