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Reimaging the Street

Details
Programme: Reimaging the Street
Director: Multiple
Format: Digital / Category IIB
Type: Screening
Length: 69 min.
Language: Multiple (some with Chinese and/or English subtitles)
Audience: Everyone
Location: House 1

Reimaging the Street

This programme interrogates how the street persists as a signifier of the urban condition and considers its indelible relationship to contemporary moving image practice. Situated between the public and private, the disruptive and incidental, the street provides fertile ground for the artists featured in this selection to bear witness, to play, to stage, to question, and to perform. Invoking a variety of artistic strategies, these works examine the constant tension between the collective and the personal in everyday urban life.

Li Liao. A Slap, 2011. single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 5 min. 9 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Li Liao

Chen Chieh-Jen. Dysfunction No.3, 1983, restored 2017. 8mm film transferred to digital; single-channel video (colour, sound) and giclée print, duration: 10 min. 19 sec. M+, Hong Kong. © Chen Chieh-Jen

Directed by MAP OFFICE. Runscape, 2010. Photo: Courtesy of MAP OFFICE

Li Liao. A Slap, 2011. single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 5 min. 9 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Li Liao

Chen Chieh-Jen. Dysfunction No.3, 1983, restored 2017. 8mm film transferred to digital; single-channel video (colour, sound) and giclée print, duration: 10 min. 19 sec. M+, Hong Kong. © Chen Chieh-Jen

Directed by MAP OFFICE. Runscape, 2010. Photo: Courtesy of MAP OFFICE

Li Liao. A Slap, 2011. single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 5 min. 9 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Li Liao

Chen Chieh-Jen. Dysfunction No.3, 1983, restored 2017. 8mm film transferred to digital; single-channel video (colour, sound) and giclée print, duration: 10 min. 19 sec. M+, Hong Kong. © Chen Chieh-Jen

Directed by MAP OFFICE. Runscape, 2010. Photo: Courtesy of MAP OFFICE

Li Liao. A Slap, 2011. single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 5 min. 9 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Li Liao

Chen Chieh-Jen. Dysfunction No.3, 1983, restored 2017. 8mm film transferred to digital; single-channel video (colour, sound) and giclée print, duration: 10 min. 19 sec. M+, Hong Kong. © Chen Chieh-Jen

Directed by MAP OFFICE. Runscape, 2010. Photo: Courtesy of MAP OFFICE

A Slap

Li Liao | 2011 | Single-channel digital video | Colour | Sound | 5 min. 9 sec.

M+, Hong Kong

A Slap documents a live performance by artist Li Liao in Wuhan in 2011. With his eyes closed and hands in the pockets of his jacket, Li stands in the middle of a busy street, seemingly undisturbed by the activities and movements around him—even when, minutes later, a man suddenly approaches and slaps Li hard on his cheek before walking away. The artist remains in his position while a crowd quickly gathers, seemingly anticipating a spectacle. Li in fact recruited the man online to participate in the performance. The work challenges distinctions between private and public, expectations and reality, and perhaps even transaction and consent.

Dysfunction No. 3

Chen Chieh-jen | Restored 2017 | Single-channel video 8mm film transferred to digital | Colour | Sound | Giclée print | English subtitles | 10 min. 19 sec.

M+, Hong Kong

In 1983, artist Chen Chieh-Jen staged a guerrilla-style public performance with four collaborators in response to the martial law imposed by the Kuomintang government in Taiwan. Dressed identically with red hoods, black blindfolds, and bandaged feet reminiscent of the Kuomintang’s prisoners, the group walked single file down a busy Taipei street. As spectators gathered and plainclothed officers looked on, the group pretended to struggle and shout in agony before they were ultimately detained and interrogated by the garrison police. Dysfunction No. 3 is rare documentation of street action and a remarkable illustration of the artist’s use of the body as an intelligent vessel of resistance and dissent against authoritarian strictures, making it a landmark work in the history of performance art in Taiwan.

Runscape

MAP Office | 2010 | Hong Kong | Single-channel digital video | Chinese subtitles | 25 min.

Runscape portrays a young man ceaselessly running through Hong Kong. In a city where space is limited, highly monetised, and politically controlled, the act of running opens up an expansive, imaginative space and becomes a metaphor for resistance, personal choice, and freedom. The runner explores alternative routes including back alleys and leftover spaces that have not yet been reshaped by urban development and gentrification. Replete with historical and sociopolitical references and their connections to urban spaces, the video draws attention to the critical potential of the street as a site of expression and transformation.

The Plan of Ice Surface—Zebra Crossing

Du Yan | 2008 | Single-channel digital video | Colour | Sound | 6 min. 58 sec.

M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong. By donation

The Plan of Ice Surface—Zebra Crossing documents the making of a site-specific artwork: a fictitious pedestrian crossing on the frozen surface of a waterway in Beijing. Under the artist’s supervision, some of his assistants start to delineate wide horizontal stripes on the ice, while another group etches rectangular markings to create the illusion of painted bars at a zebra crossing. Shot on a handheld video camera, the work closely observes the labour-intensive manual process of artmaking, as well as capturing looks of amusement and concern from onlookers. Du Yan’s temporary intervention presented familiar signifiers of city spaces within unfamiliar contexts, drawing attention to the arbitrary quality of the rules and confines that dictate how we occupy and move through space.

Kan Xuan. KanXuan Ai!, 1999. single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 1 min. 22 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Kan Xuan

Directed by Wong Ping. Wong Ping's Fables I, 2018. Photo: Courtesy of Wong Ping

Li Ming. A Succeeded Failure, 2015. Single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 1 min. 3 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. Gift of Li Ming, 2020. © Li Ming

Zhang Qing. Taxi Samba, 2003. Single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 6 min.. M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong. By donation. © Zhang Qing

Kan Xuan. KanXuan Ai!, 1999. single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 1 min. 22 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Kan Xuan

Directed by Wong Ping. Wong Ping's Fables I, 2018. Photo: Courtesy of Wong Ping

Li Ming. A Succeeded Failure, 2015. Single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 1 min. 3 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. Gift of Li Ming, 2020. © Li Ming

Zhang Qing. Taxi Samba, 2003. Single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 6 min.. M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong. By donation. © Zhang Qing

KanXuan Ai!

Kan Xuan | 1999 | Single-channel digital video | Colour | Sound | 1 min. 22 sec.

M+, Hong Kong

In KanXuan! Ai!,the artist runs through a crowded passage at one of Beijing’s largest underground rail interchanges, Fuxingmen station. As she forges against the busy foot traffic and yells ‘Kan Xuan!’, passers-by in the tunnel remain oblivious that she is in fact calling out her own name. Some watch the fleeting scene with curiosity but make no significant intervention. Captured in a realist, low-tech digital video aesthetic, KanXuan! Ai! portrays the artist as the archetypal outsider, the maverick going against the crowd, or perhaps the awakened individual amidst the masses, struggling with the weight of congested urban confines upon the individual mind.

Wong Ping’s Fables I

Wong Ping | 2018 | Hong Kong | Digital video | Cantonese with Chinese & English subtitles | 13 min.

Wong Ping’s Fables I is an edgy animated anthology about three characters —a Buddhist elephant, a chicken addicted to social media, and a tree trunk with an insect phobia. Each chapter ends with a critical maxim. Based on the artist’s sharp observations about everyday life in Hong Kong, the film touches upon love, narcissism, fear, and digital interactions, presenting a satirical and somewhat dystopian outlook of the city’s future.

A Succeeded Failure

Li Ming | 2015 | Single-channel digital video | Colour | Sound | 1 min. 3 sec.

M+, Hong Kong. Gift of Li Ming, 2020

Artist Li Ming squats in a supermarket trolley while clinging to the back of a car driving slowly on a busy road. The performance ends abruptly when the car accelerates, and Li tumbles out of the cart and into the street. While illustrating the inherently unpredictable nature of tightly controlled contexts, the artist’s absurd actions in A Succeeded Failure also suggest similar mechanisms in the art world, questioning the meaning of success and failure in artmaking.

Taxi Samba

Zhang Qing | 2003 | Single-channel digital video | Colour | Sound | Chinese & English subtitles | 6 min.

M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong. By donation

InTaxi Samba, ten taxis face each other in two rows in a wintry parking lot flanked by a small group of spectators. The cars soon reverse or lunge forward in various patterns and speeds; sometimes, pairs of accelerating taxis would meet almost head on, if not for honouring a narrow pathway between them that is intended as a pedestrian crossing. Amidst the sounds of whirring accelerations and screeching brakes, a few members of the audience run through the corridor, lurching at close encounters with speeding cars. Suggesting the drama of a crowded dance floor and the potential threat of danger in everyday life, the work also invites and challenges viewers to place their lives in jeopardy, adding a tangible measure of fear to art appreciation.

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