In astrophysics, a wormhole is a hypothetical passage between disparate points in space-time. Tap Chan’s Distant Worlds, 2022, is a steel-frame model that represents this phenomenon, albeit bisected, with the entry and exit turned to face each other. Such absurd inversions abound in “Lime & Tangerine in a Wormhole,” Chan’s first solo show at Mou Projects.
Gypsum-resin stars are scattered across the floor, some half-buried in sparkly mounds of “black galaxy sand.” Articulated limbs adorned with copper hexagons extend from the gallery’s mint-green walls. Chan’s objects evoke retrofuturist kitsch, Twilight Zone figurations with scant scientific fidelity. Elsewhere, two lamps mounted on opposite walls emit orange and green halos. Titled Cosmic Rays I and II, 2022, they transmute the threat of galactic radiation—which causes cognitive impairment—into kooky home decor.
The show is a fantasy of the future that looks to the past, an extraterrestrial investigation in domestic trappings. This incongruous whirl is especially striking in Velocity of Time, 2017/22, in which two analog televisions play identical clips from 1980s Japanese commercials at different speeds, alluding to the temporal distortions produced by wormholes. It is jarring to contemplate theoretical space tunnels while watching grainy images of fruit cups on obsolete screens, yet this anachronous clash seems an apt expression of humankind’s uneven advancement, with its false starts, outlandish guesses, and technological dead ends. To envision the future is to accept some measure of failure, but, as Chan’s topsy-turvy world suggests, isn’t the sheer capaciousness of the imagination a marvel in itself?