Ranging from ghosts to AI, mermaids to musicals, digital animation to Super 8 – this shorts programme features artist moving image works that centre speculation, imagination, and dreaming as key strategies, shifting our notion of what is and could be possible. Inventing mythologies, cosmologies, and systems that depart from normative sense-making become bridges to worlds beyond the internalised fictions of capitalist fixity. Grounded in queering as an imaginative praxis, these films by queer Southeast and East Asian filmmakers ask: how might we find and grow pockets of the eerie, comical, or cosmical in the everyday, and what might these adventures enable?
Programmed by April Lin 林森. This screening will be followed by an in-person Q&A with artist-filmmakers Yarli Allison, Asuka Lin and Royston Tan, led by April Lin 林森.
Total Runtime: 88 min
Content warning: Self-harm, blood
Shapeshifter(s) looks into the uncanny parallel between the policing of pigeons and marginalised folks, whose bodies are constantly navigating and code-switching in between desire, shame and restraint under surveillance in a hostile environment.
Dir. Khairullah Rahim | Singapore | 2021 | 2 min
A.I. Mama is a post-cyberpunk short featuring Kei, a young programmer who attempts to resurrect their lost mother by coding an A.I. that can input childhood memories. Shot handheld on raw black & white Super 8, this frenetic 5 minute live action + animation crescendos into a cathartic collapse of the binaries of mother and child, creator and creation.
Dir. Asuka Lin | USA | 2020 | 5 min
In collaboration with ecologist Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, artist-filmmaker April Lin 林森 presents ‘TR333’, a speculative documentary which imagines a new species of tree based on scientific literature on plants and climate hardiness. As the spirit inhabiting the tree emerges to converse with the viewer, they share with us their experiences of ecocidal generational trauma, urging us to reflect around the ways all the beings on the planet are deeply interlinked.
Dir. April Lin 林森 | UK | 2021 | 10 min
Datafication 〈Act 1〉 : May Ian Valley 0101
In the looping dreamscape of ‘Act 1’, Yarli imagines daily influences of AI emergence and gamification on one’s behaviour – taking the most intimate sexual encounters as departure. Viewers will join the data-mining authorities to monitor May Ian (美人)’s machine-readable body, known as ‘Subject 06′. In the control room, all the subjects’ sex acts are constantly being extracted and analysed.
Dir. Yarli Allison | UK | 2021 | 6 min
How to Become a True Post-Human
How to Become a True Post-human is an exploration work that examines and attempts to discover a new sense and desire: to escape from the existing order and to be reborn as a post-human being. Dew Kim’s masochistic practice of destructing himself in his works acts as the driving force for dismantling the social norms and hierarchies.
Dir. Huh Need-you | South Korea | 2020 | 6 min
Book of Permutation = Tale of a Dying House
Taking on themes of the Buddhist funeral tradition in Korea in which people hold a funeral every 7 days for 7 weeks, the work interrogates ways in which change can be evoked by decoding reality, history, and past. The work traces clues that others have left, while leaving marks to be observed and slipping in and out of the dark life that language and its inscriptions on matter extrude into the fiction of reality.
Dir. Nuka Nayu, Harry Appleyard | 2021 | UK | 9 min
Commissioned as part of the Bagri Foundation’s Chang/ce series.
A Spider, Fever, and Other Disappearing Islands
A Spider, Fever and Other Disappearing Islands is an experimental documentary which connects the director’s grandmother’s migration from the Indonesian Riau Islands to Singapore with a spider spirit’s migratory route, where memories of colonial ghosts, sisterhood, and disappearance are woven together. Emerging through this melange of media forms is a re-imagined archipelagic and family history that reclaims the act of story-telling as simultaneously generative and fluid.
Dir. Natalie Khoo | 2021 | Singapore | 21 min
Ex Nilalang: From Creature ~ From Creation (Ep.4)
Ex Nilalang by collective Club Ate (Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra) is a body of work that uses myth as a form to explore the intersections of queer identities of the Filipino diaspora. Nilalang has a hybrid meaning ‘to create’ and also meaning ‘creature’ — This emphasizes the nature of the work being both a transformation of existing mythologies and also the imagining of future folklore.
Dir. Club Ate (Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra) | 2017 | Australia | 14 min
A video work based on a mermaid’s story.
The artwork is in the fashion of a music video featuring a romantic song in which a mermaid dreams of becoming a human and walking with two legs on the land. In the video, the mermaid (played by Takata) sings the song whilst she cuts her fish tail in half in order to create legs.
Red blood pours out from the tail. The blood consists of red beads, and their sparkly splatter fills the screen.
Dir. Fuyuhiko Takata | 2016 | Japan | 2 min
A hilarious masterpiece by Singaporean director Royston Tan, follow Mrs Censor’s struggle to catch her breath as an obsessive fanboy (and his posse) pester her about the art of editing. Hailed as a film lover with impeccable taste and brilliant editing skills, she is worshipped for her self-sacrifice and selflessness in protecting the citizens of Singapore from immoral and polluting ideas in film. A hysterical piece of satire dancing hand in hand with some of the world’s greatest musicals, let us all be thankful for Mrs Censor – “censorship sets you free; censorship is for you and me.”
Dir. Royston Tan | 2005 | Singapore | 13 min