• Ken Lum's "Bindy Sangeet, Employee of the Month" and "Alia Naffouj, Hooked on Tennis," installed on Main Billboard as seen from an angle

    Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    On main billboard, in Hatton, Missouri, January–February 2015

  • Ken Lum's "Bindy Sangeet, Employee of the Month" and "Alia Naffouj, Hooked on Tennis," installed on Main Billboard as seen from an angle

    Installation view at main billboard site (click arrows for more images)

  • Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," diptych, 2015

    Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," diptych, 2015 (click arrows for more images)
    Installed on satellite billboard, near Hatton, MO, January 2016

  • Ken Lum, "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month / Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis," diptych, 2015, installation view

    View of Lum billboard with "Friendship" values.com PSA in the foreground (click arrows for more images)

Lum created a new work for the Sign Show by merging existing pieces — "Bindy Sangeet: Employee of the Month" (1990) and "Alia Naffouj: Hooked on Tennis" (1998) — into a diptych. Within the context of message themes along the interstate, his billboard comments on labor, immigration, the American Dream, and comparative representations of aspirant and achieved success. Of ethnic Chinese origin, Lum often makes work that considers the individual's place in society while investigating race and class distinctions. This content was enhanced when his "Bindy / Alia" image moved to its second, "satellite," I-70 location adjacent to a Mister Rogers "Friendship: Pass it On" values.com public-service announcement sponsored by the nonprofit Foundation For a Better Life. The satellite sites of Sign Show artworks are left to chance: DDI Media assigns them different locations each time, depending on where empty signs are available. Usually, artworks move at least 50 miles from the main billboard in Hatton, and, almost always, their meaning becomes more poetic or political in the new locations. In Lum's case, his work moved just across the road, yet it still entered a more potent conversation with surrounding ads and architecture.
In general, the diptych format of Lum's piece engages the frequent stacked or side-by-side billboards along the interstate (as pictured below), whose random message pairings often are inadvertently complementary or ironic.

Triple the Love/ Passions: buy 2 DVDs, Get 1 Free billboard pairing

Since the late 1970s, Lum has explored expressions of cultural and subjective identity within the encoded of parameters of economic, social, and political systems. Lum uses combiations of photographic images, sculptural components, and ideas about language to produce works that address contemporary life. Of Chinese ethnic origin and born in Vancouver, he often considers the individual's place in society while investigating race and class distinctions. His pairings of image and text invite viewers to ask questions about social issues and the visual world.
Lum is a professor in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been exhibited widely, in the Whitney Biennial 2014, the Moscow Biennial (2011), the Gwangju Biennale (2008), the Istanbul Biennale (2007), and Documenta 11 (2002), among other venues. Lum has published many essays on art and is co-founder and founding editor of the Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. He was co-curator of the 7th Sharjah Biennial and "Shanghai Modern: 1919–1945," both in 2005.
video of satallite billboard installation
Copyright © 2015 — I-70 Sign Show
All artist images, copyright © the respective artists

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