Review: HomePleasure (居家娛樂)

by Brian Hioe

Photo Credit: Brian Hioe

MANBO KEY’S (登曼波) exhibition “HomePleasure” (居家娛樂) proves the third of a series of exhibitions by the photographer exploring his father’s sexuality. Key is the name by which photographer Yang Teng-chi (楊登棋) is known professionally, apart from DJing under the name Yexiao. Namely, after reviewing a series of tapes left to him by his father, he realized that his father was gay.

Key continues this with “HomePleasure,” taken from a label on one of these videos. This time around, Key continues his previous concerns with engaging through this history with one video artwork featuring a conversation between him and his mother.

More than else, however, Key tries to bring the viewer into the world of the queer nightclub. “HomePleasure” contains two rooms, one of which is modeled after a gay club such as found in Berlin as referred to as the “Dark Room”. A series of fish tanks with live fish in them feature light projections onto them in an innovative effect, while various couches and chairs feature dildos and other sex toys.

Photo credit: Brian Hioe

The “Dark Room” primarily consists of a booth featuring interviews with members of the LGBTQ community curated by Key, however. Viewers are invited to sit down in the booths and listen, as a form of oral history, presumably with the aim that the changed setting allows them to experience a different set of perspectives.

By contrast, the exhibition’s other half, the “Light Room” consists of more conventional photography by works. This includes a number of subjects, ranging from counter-cultural influencer Suan Liu to Digital Minister Audrey Tang.

These are primarily black-and-white photographs–somewhat surprising since Key is known for his innovative use of color in his photography. However, these are well-accomplished. Rather than focus on collage or group photographs, as with his other work, Key focuses here primarily on individuals.

The sense of contrast from the “Dark Room” is used to great effect. At the same time, both spaces are complementary. In particular, one notes that the “Light Room” consists largely of images that speak for themselves, while the “Dark Room” is mostly images paired with sound.

“HomePleasure” then, continues Key’s previous concerns while also expanding into new territory. The exhibition is highly worth viewing.