Tsong has been interested in the layered meanings of the words alien, stranger, and other. While living in Roswell, NM of alien folkculture fame, her Asian-American ethnicity was an obvious curiosity to residents. She began a reciprocal portrait project as a way to give strangers the opportunity to examine her face. The portraits of Tsong displayed en masse in the Roswell Museum, reflect a diversity in community not evident in its ethnicity, and are evidence of identity as interactive project between self and other.
In Telecommunity Portrait, Tsong questions technology rather than ethnicity in its role to shape our interactions and therefore our identities. In this work, a video conference system is placed in the gallery as well as the artist’s studio to enable the viewer and artist to create portraits of one another. Tsong faxes her drawing to the participant in exchange for their pinning their drawing of her on the installation wall.
Edie Tsong received her MFA in ceramics from Louisiana State University. Telecommunity Portrait was recently presented as part of Bay Area Now 4 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her video Thank-you America was recently on view in April Meetings: A Festival of Expanded Media in Belgrade, Serbia. She has performed collaboratively with Pete Kuzov in the EnterActive Language Festival in Portland, Oregon, for the past three years. Tsong has held residencies at Women’s Studio Workshop in New York, the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado and the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program in Roswell, New Mexico.