Emil Goh

By Andrew Frost

Producing photography and video work since the 1990s, Emil Goh's main subject was the human response to the urban and city environment. Video such as Mall and 1 Minute at 109 [both 2002] investigated patterns of movement and coincidence. In Mall, Goh took the colour red as a cue to follow different people through a crowded city shopping mall, searching out red t-shirts, bags and hats, only switching direction once a new cue was found. In 1 Minute at 109 Goh ascended and then descended the escalators of a trendy department store in Tokyo, the journey compressed to a hectic 60 seconds.

Other video works found gentle humour in brief encounters in the city – Styrofoam [2001] follows a man carrying an enormous load of Styrofoam boxes on a pole; Mother and Daughter [2001] captures an encounter with an identically dressed mother and daughter in a Japanese subway, while Untitled [Sail] [2003] recorded pedestrians struggling up a hill in front of a sail-like sheet hanging over a building site in Seoul.

Goh’s Between is an ongoing series of videos recording the interiors of apartments and houses around the world. In the first of the series recorded in London – Between [2000] – Goh set up a camera at the very edge of an apartment window and then, rotating the camera 360 degrees, recorded in a single shot of the interior and exterior view. Repeating the process at various homes, offices and studios around the world, Goh cross-dissolved all the shots into a sequence of rotations creating a continuous video in which the viewer is given a sense of the commonalities and differences of what it means to live in a large city. Goh returned to the process for Between [HK] [2003] and Between [Seoul], 2004.

Goh has experimented with appropriated and found footage videos. Trailer [Speed] [2006] compresses the film Speed [1994] to the length of an average movie trailer. Remake [2003] was a gallery installation that screened three feature films in their entirety, all of them based on the same story – La Femme Nikita [1990, The Assassin [1993] and Black Cat [1991]. The compilation of the three films, projected to create a continuous wide screen image, created startling visual collisions: three frames of the heroines and their boyfriends; three frames of handguns; three frames of cars; three frames of television screens.
b. 1966 – d. 2009