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Recent Articles

Exhibition: Distant Kisses


On the 30th March 2020, a kiss was an intimate act shared between loved ones without a second thought. On the 31st March 2020, a kiss became a double edged sword balancing intimacy and danger. Whilst lockdown provided solace from an unknown and frightening threat, we unknowingly traded romance for the safety of sterility. Huei Yin Wong examines our loss of intimacy following the pandemic through her first solo exhibition Distant Kisses

Huei asked single people in Melbourne to kiss a petri dish, which she then kept incubated at close to body temperature. There, they revealed the invisible ecosystems from the microbiota on our lips - a tangled web of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms we all carry. Alongside photographing these microbiota she recorded interviews with the single Melburnians, and the QR codes accompanying the photographs provide little insights into the realities of being single throughout lockdown.

When lockdown was first established there were no ‘single bubbles’ for those living alone - and the result was half a million single-dwelling Victorians stuck between the choice of hastily forming an intimate connection or being stranded alone for months. The recorded interviews reveal a contrasting mixture of stories between cute Zoom dates and two strangers becoming intimate couples on the very first date. 

A lot of focus was placed on the anxiety and panic from the sudden upheaval of our established lifestyles, but little was placed on the sudden categorisation of socialisation as a health risk and dating as dangerous. Prior to the pandemic, people were able to meet new people at university, a friend’s party or a bar - now dating has shifted primarily to online with services like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge becoming more prevalent and creating a digital experience for an activity that should be more physical in nature. 

Through her unusual investigation, Huei not only revealed the unseen change in the way we approach intimacy and affection, but the sinister way that the micro world was able to thoroughly impact the macro world. Distant Kisses is currently on exhibition at The Gallery at City Library until 25 August 2022.


Tagged: Art · Art Exhibition · Covid-19 · Lockdown · Online Dating

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