Lap-See Lam, Phantom Banquet, 2019. Production still. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake.


Deitch box

18 Wooster Street

12-16 November 20.00, 21.00, 22.00


The Artist Will Examine Constructs of Identity in The Cantonese Diaspora Through a Dining Room Performance At a Fictive Chinese Restaurant


For Performa 19, artist Lap-See Lam will present Phantom Banquet, a multi-channel installation and performance piece informed by the language and hospitality rituals observed at Chinese restaurants in Sweden, like the one her family owned for many years in Stockholm. Using narrative storytelling, virtual reality, live music, and food, the work examines the relevance of imagined and metaphorical spaces and the complexity of cultural identity within the theme of diaspora.


Exploring technologies including 3D scanning, virtual reality and animation, Lam has systematically taken to document and collect increasingly endangered old Chinese restaurants in Sweden. By preserving the legacy of these restaurant interiors, her work considers how myths, popular culture and fiction have the potential to control and construct notions of identity and belonging, weaving together the spirit of the Hong Kong-Chinese diaspora across the world and the value of cultural-historical heritage.


In this new work, Lam will guide viewers through a haunting four-part installation, beginning with a story set in 1978 in Stockholm of a girl who disappears through a mirror and into another dimension. Participants will be seated family style at a dinner banquet, and experience a narrative script with digitally-manipulated visualizations of real-life Chinese restaurants. A live musical performance accompanies the work, featuring vocals and instrumentals from Sweden and New York City. The work explores concepts around ghosts, moving bodies, becoming other, displacement, visuality, community and identity, and the role they play in our physical and digital world today.


Phantom Banquet is a continuation of Mother’s Tongue, 2018—a collaboration with director Wingyee Wu—a video installation where 3D film sequences transport the viewer on a journey across space and time. In three chapters that play out in the past (1978), present (2018), and future (2058), Mother’s Tongue tells stories that revolve around social, cultural, and technological clashes through fictive monologues by three generations of women, who speak of their experience of the restaurant and how it changes over time.


Lap-See Lam (b. 1990, Sweden) has exhibited her work internationally, with solo exhibitions at Skellefteå Konsthall, Skellefteå (2019); Moderna Museet Malmö (2018–2019); and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2018). Lam has taken part in group exhibitions at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2019); Luleå Biennial (2018), Kópavogur Art Museum, Kópavogur (2018); Kendra Jayne Patrick, New York City (2018); and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2017). She received the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation Grant in 2017, and her work can be found in permanent collections at Moderna Museet, Stockholm and L’Ascensore, Palermo.



Lap-See Lam’s Performa Commission is curated by Sara Arrhenius and co-produced by the Royal Institute of Art. Supported by Christel Engelbert, Chairwoman of Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation. Additional support provided by the Consulate General of Sweden in New York, and the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C. and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.