Saturday, 18 September 2021

Throwing Out Bricks: Video Works from Shanghai and Hong Kong

This event introduces three video works from Shanghai and Hong Kong, all of which are shown for the first time in the Philippines. The works aim to outline the context of these two cities from historical, ideological and spatial dimensions to audience in Manila. The title “Throwing Out Bricks” comes from a Chinese idiom, 抛砖引玉(pāo zhuān yǐn yù), literally meaning “throwing out a brick to attract a jade”, in which brick symbolises a modest suggestion or an invitation while jade symbolises other people’s valuable contributions. If a sense of division and isolation among places in East Asia and Southeast Asia is caused by various invisible walls, “Throwing Out Bricks” could thus be an imaginary act to deconstruct/destruct these walls. The three works are bricks, attracting jade from the local artists, filmmakers, activists and other participants to open up conversations on the problems we face in a wider context across borders.

All filmmakers of the three projects will be present in the screening.

Miasma, Plants, Export Paintings (2017) by Bo Wang & Pan Lu, Boundaries (2019) by Lee Chun Fung, and Videos from Project 51 Personae (2016-) initiated by Chen Yun. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session, moderated by Cocoy Lumbao.

This event is supported by Los Otros, Lost Frames and RESBAK with thanks to Green Papaya

About the Videos:

Miasma, Plants, Export Paintings
Two Channel Video | 28min | 2017
A Film by Bo Wang & Lu Pan

The harsh tropical climate created strong fear and anxiety in the British troops stationed at Hong Kong after the Opium Wars (1839-42, 1856-60). The nineteenth century myth of Miasma, ‘bad air’, related epidemic diseases to air, environment and race, which later helped to consolidate the vertical spatial segregation on Hong Kong island. Acclimatization efforts were made in pace with expansion of the British Botanic Empire, a global network of scientific research projects on plants, which circulated not only botanic specimens but also images created for the purpose of study. In the particular case of Canton in South China, local commercial artists were commissioned to make paintings of plants. This work examines the specific dynamics between imperialism, scientific research, race and the right to look in nineteenth century Canton.


Single Channel Video | 30 mins | Chinese and English Subtitle | 2019
by Lee Chun Fung

When the British started to negotiate the future of Hong Kong with the Chinese government, Chinese government has shown persistency and insisted on reclaiming Hong Kong’s sovereignty. Considering the long-term interests that the British has invested in Hong Kong, they strongly advocated the validity of the three treaties, that is according to the Treaty of Nanking and Treaty of Peking, British own the sovereignty of Hong Kong Island as well as Kowloon Peninsula; while New Territories is on lease for 99 years and shall be returned to China in 1997. In order to show confidence to the Chinese government, British proposed to build “Hong Kong Wall” at the boundary between the New Territories and Kowloon, that imitated the Berlin Wall in Germany. In this circumstance, Hong Kong would be divided into northern and southern, as assurance to British to retain her last “Far East colony” after 1997. This video is to depict an alternative development of Hong Kong society as if the wall was built. Within this allegory, the wall serves not only as a physical division, but contributes in constructing or re-articulating the identity of Hong Kong people, which is influenced by various ideological, political and economic agendas.


51 Personae

51 Personae presents 51 dramas that feature 51 real-life scenarios, and so it provides 51 stories—though not answers—expanding the possibilities of the 11th Shanghai Biennale: Why Not Ask Again: Arguments, Counterarguments, and Stories. While arguments and reasoning do not always come up with rhetoric sufficient to accurately reflect one’s contemplation, stories are embedded with uncertainty, diversity, and vitality, as is indicated in the proverb: “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes”. From the stories of others, one enters their lives, causing a reflection on one’s own life, and in this sense, the stories of others are linked to ours.

51 Personae engages life, emotions, common sense, nature, history, economics, society, culture, and art, responding to and exceeding our speculations. It takes its chance in the way individuals present their dramas to become mobile power stations.

51 Personae, like the weight of human life on the streets of a city, is ephemeral and enduring.


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