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Community of Houses

Artist: Cha Jeamin, Cha Jiryang, Chai Siris, Tada Hengsapkul, Mark Salvatus, Midi Z, Zai Kuning, CAMP
Language: Multiple
Audience: Everyone
Location: Grand Stair

Community of Houses

Our homes, wired with fibre optics, have ironically become an ultimate site of isolation. We find ourselves longing for the vast wilderness as our cities grow smarter by the day. Community of Houses proposes alternative forms of living that differ from the traditional community of neighbours based on physical vicinity. The works in this programme explore changes in the environment experienced by communities in varying regions and of different generations and typologies, along with the other forms of living that emerge as they adapt in their own ways.

Community of Houses consists of three parts. Part A and B showcase a total of seven selected moving image works, which includes a looped screening of You Lead Me Down, to the Ocean before the programme begins. Part C showcases From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, followed by an artist conversation with CAMP

Due to M+'s temporary closure under COVID-19 restrictions, the screenings and artist talk associated with this programme have been cancelled.

You Lead Me, Down to the Ocean

Tada Hengsapkul | 2018 | Colour | Sound | 16 min 15 sec

Loan courtesy of the artist

You Lead Me Down, to the Ocean presents footage of military tanks left at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Narathiwas. The Thai army had bought them from China in 1987. Today, the tanks have been decommissioned, deemed unfit for combat. Defunct as metal scraps, they have been reduced to mere pieces of metal that form an artificial reef of deep-sea corals. These weapons of war now help to rejuvenate the marine ecosystem serving Thailand’s tourism industry. The spectre, which is changing the scenery of the ocean floor, yet utterly alien, echoes the effort to stop the ever marching steps of time.

You Lead Me Down, to the Ocean will be screened at the beginning of both Part A and B.

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You Lead Me, Down to the Ocean, Tada Hengsapkul. 2018. © Tada Hengsapkul

Part A: Screenings

Fog and Smoke

Cha Jeamin | 2013 | Colour | Sound | 20 min 22 sec

Loan courtesy of the artist

Fog and Smoke focuses on the new town of Songdo in Incheon, South Korea. Adopting the contrasting faces of the city—old and new—as its backdrop, the screening illustrates a speculative reality between residents who have lost their occupations and homes to urban redevelopment and others who have built their new homes there. Residents who used to fish reiterate their stories as images of vertical architecture and tap dancers appear in empty nightscapes. The screening shows the hidden tales behind the construction of a global city.

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Fog and Smoke, Cha Jeamin. 2013. © Cha Jeamin

Four Seasons

Chai Siris | 2010 | Colour | Sound | 10 min 25 sec

Loan courtesy of the artist

Four Seasons is a portrait of a migrant construction worker on her day off. She goes to a waterfall to rest, letting her mind drift. The screening eventually leads to the portrait of a construction site at night, illuminated with lights from the heavy machinery.

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Four Seasons, Chai Siris. 2010. © Chai Siris

That Day Most Eagerly Awaited

Mark Salvatus | 2020 | Colour | Sound | 22 min 5 sec

Loan courtesy of the artist

That Day Most Eagerly Awaited by Mark Salvatus explores the symbolism of Mount Banahaw, a mountain located in Salvatus’ hometown that comes to be a refuge and haven for people engaged in religious and spiritual activities, radical political groups, and UFO chasers. That Day Most Eagerly Awaited is an expression of Salvatus’s longing for a new freedom of movement and meeting everyone again in the future.

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That Day Most Eagerly Awaited, Mark Salvatus. 2020. © Mark Salvatus

New Home

Cha Jiryang | 2012 | Colour | Sound | 86 min 13 sec

Loan courtesy of the artist

New Home encourages audiences to propose and imagine their own ideas for possible alternative systems. Focusing on a particular generation of people who feels helpless in the face of the current housing system, New Home is a ‘sleeping performance,’ occupying vacant homes of different typologies—the by-products of urban development—and making imperfect life trials.

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New Home, Cha Jiryang. 2012. © Cha Jiryang

Part B: Screenings

The Palace on the Sea

Midi Z | 2013 | Colour | Sound | 15 min 26 sec

M+, Hong Kong

The Palace on the Sea comments on themes of migration and loss. It follows the journey of a migrant in Taiwan who is desperate to return to her home country of Myanmar. Dressed in traditional Burmese attire, she emerges from a car-repair shop and arrives at a vessel that resembles a floating Buddhist temple. There, in what seems to be a dream, she dances with her husband. In the following scenes, the man appears as a monk chanting a Buddhist scripture to guide lost, suffering souls. The Palace on the Sea was inspired by the migrant workforce in Taiwan and an abandoned seafood restaurant in Kaohsiung. The camera movement, music, pacing, and fragmented narrative structure evoke the common immigrant experiences of remembrance, longing, and disorientation, while also lending the character a timeless, enigmatic presence.

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The Palace on the Sea, Midi Z. 2013. © Midi Z


Zai Kuning | 2003 | Colour | Sound | 29 min 51 sec

M+, Hong Kong

RIAU documents life in the Riau Archipelago. Consisting of over three thousand islands from Singapore to Indonesia, the archipelago is home to seafaring populations who make their living through fishing, living nomadically on boats and rarely touching land. From 1999 to 2003, Zai undertook intermittent trips to the region in search of the Orang Laut—or ‘sea people’ in Malay—considered by some to be the first peoples of Singapore. RIAU chronicles Zai Kuning’s interactions with the communities as they go about their daily activities. Scenes of the indigenous people working, eating, fishing, and singing are interspersed with long periods of silence and the artist’s diaristic texts. The film draws attention to the struggles of the rapidly diminishing Orang Laut, who face ongoing discrimination and financial hardship because of modern developments.

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RIAU, Zai Kuning. 2003. © Zai Kuning

Part C: Screening & Artist Conversation

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf

CAMP | 2013 | Colour | Sound | 83 min

M+, Hong Kong

A boat has many powers—to gather a society in its making, act like a home, and carry people, goods, and ideas across places that seem to us, are more different than ever before.

From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf was made in collaboration with a group of sailors from the Gulf of Kutch, India, over four years. It consists of footage filmed by the seamen with a mixture of recording devices, including mobile phone cameras. Their travels, and those of co-seafarers from Pakistan and Southern Iran through the Persian and Aden Gulfs, show us a world cut into many pieces not easily bridged by nostalgia or nationalists, nor captured by the logistics of world trade. We follow their daily lives as they sail the boats they make.

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From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf, CAMP. 2013. © CAMP

Post-screening Artist Conversation with CAMP

This artist conversation with CAMP’s founding members, Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran, focuses on the making of the feature-length travelogue From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf.

Humanity is deeply connected through the sea and the centuries-old shared technique of making and sailing boats in the modern era, which act as a ground for the exchange of ideas between diverse people, allowing us to experience the claims and potentials around infrastructure, transport, and trade. In this setting, the boat becomes a complex metaphor of power.