Phantom Pain | 幻肢痛

2-channel interactive video

Dimensions variable

Phantom Pain is a 2-channel interactive video portraying the magician’s assistant – a voluntary victim of the magic trick ‘sawing a woman in half’, which ended in failure. The magician has long disappeared, while the assistant is still living in the show, waiting for them to put her back in vain. All attempts to move on have resulted in a ‘rejection reaction’ of the new limb.

In disconnection from the lower body, the assistant endures a phantom pain acting like a distant hallucination. Her disturbing speech describes the pain as an unverifiable performance, leading to the impossibility of empathy. Drawing analogies to magic tricks, the work presents a scene in which every prying question towards her has become a sword of words, penetrating her body, leaving no visible wound. 

The installation consists of a physical component and two video channels. The audience interacts with the sword box to throw questions at the assistant. In the cover video, the assistant’s upper body responds to the audience. While penetrating the sword, the audience will face the other video channel video which captures the dislocated, confined lower body reacting to the conversation.

The Assistant’s Song, an original score performed in the work Phantom Pain.