Borrowing its name from Amos Vogel’s seminal book ‘Film as a Subversive Art’, this programme investigates the question: How can video be used to communicate, extrapolate, and extricate the intricacies of the political? In an age where video has never been more accessible (and arguably, more easily commodifiable), what potency does it continue to hold as a container for discussions about politics? These artist moving image works by queer Southeast and East Asian filmmakers range across the micro-macro layers of reality, dealing with issues ranging from intersections of gender and ableism, effects of Chinese soft power in Zimbabwe, and the anthropocene.
Total Runtime: 96 min
Programmed by April Lin 林森. This screening will be followed by an in-person Q&A with the artist-filmmaker Chooc Ly Tan, led by April Lin 林森.
A Room of Oblivion
A Room of Oblivion is an experimental film reflecting on the notion of queer memories, and the failure of it through rediscovered footage taken in a journey with an ex-partner.
Dorothy Cheung | Hong Kong | 2019 | 6 min
Social Dance – a documentary that re-enacts a woman’s conversation with her ex-partner – depicts the discrepancies present in the visual mode of communication that is sign language. Using an interview that she conducted with a deaf female dancer, the artist wrote a narrative based on the interviewee’s personal experience, which became the basis of the work. In the video, a woman lies in bed talking through sign language to her ex-partner.
Aya Momose | Japan | 2021 | 11 min
Resolving ‘Your Biggest Fan’
In March of 2020, Stef Aranas was all set to shoot the thesis film of her dreams, Your Biggest Fan; then COVID-19 hit the world. Stuck in Manila’s strict lockdown, she transformed her project into Resolving ‘Your Biggest Fan’, a film that ruminates on her cancelled production and explores her identity as a transgender filmmaker and musician in the Philippines. The film tackles several conversations between Stef and the members of her film crew. Together, they explore various film treatments in order to rebuild her thesis film remotely. The film also touches on the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and the struggles of graduating in a tumultuous political and social climate.
Stef Aranas | Philippines | 2021 | 17 min
Eye Your Ear
A young Deaf woman tells us of her first experience going to the cinema. Ensues a poetic exploration of Thai Sign Language and its imagined affinities with film.
Eye Your Ear takes as a starting point how we develop our imagination and the ways we relate through language. The film explores the poetic possibilities of non-vocal languages, focusing on Thai Sign Language. Conjuring the notions of illusion, frames of narration and projected images, ‘Eye Your Ear” plays with possible parallels and affinities between film and Sign Language. The film experiments with the blurred territory of gestures that signify and suggest, and underlines the tactile quality of our eyes.
Jeanne Penjan Lassus | Thailand | 2021 | 9 min
Differences do matter
This work explores the notion of differences and the impossibilities to state clearly the importance of differences, regarding sound and images, visual and audio perception, sexual identity, Cantonese, written Chinese and English languages, representation by mass media and by ourselves, and interpretations of street actions. A fixed duration commission short video work back in 1997-8, many of the materials in this short are from my other documentaries in mid-length.
Anson Mak | Hong Kong | 1998 | 3 min
Sunu Jappo/ 手拉手 / Hand in Hand
Sunu Jappo / 手拉手 / Hand in Hand is a video-poem made by the artist from a two week sojourn in Dakar, recalling the role and the legacy of the ethnographic filmmaker, and questioning the ramification of Chinese soft power on the African continent.
Ming Wong | Germany | 14 min
Crespuscular Dreams of (Dis-)Alienation
Crepuscular Dreams of (Dis-) Alienation is a collage of found and homemade audio and visual material, intermingling trips to visit family in Cambodia with personal material from her own unreleased music production. The audio-visual collage presents interviews from women and non-binary people of colour that include friends and family, as well as the artists’ sister. Tracing a diaspora across Paris, Algeria, Reykjavik, the Congo, Cambodia and Dublin, they critically reflect on present day considerations from the position of those who’ parents and grandparents directly experienced the colonial exploits of various European imperialisms.
Chooc Ly Tan | United Kingdom | 2018 | 15 min
Where Do We Go From Here?
“Where Do We Go From Here?” depicts the incorporation and conflict between cultural and political institutions, scientific infrastructures, and global ecosystems through juxtapositions of footages found on the internet and Piyarat’s newly filmed footages, as well as the artist’s own narrative. The film prigrimages around the planetary crisis – from lichen to human internal organs, child labor in an Indian mica mine, offshore and steel industries, and more.
Piyarat Piyapongwiwat | Thailand | 2021 | 21 min