Essays & Reviews
Essays & Reviews
"WE ARE NOT revolt, we support the Communist Party," reads a flyer early on in Jill Li's documentary Lost Course (2019). Written in English and Chinese by protesters in Wukan, the flyer is addressed to journalists who have flocked to the southern Chinese fishing village to witness their remarkably successful movement toward democratic governance.
For filmmaker Jia Zhangke, China's embrace of mass consumerism is offset, however violently, by ancient social bonds.
AROUND 2012, the photographer Cai Dongdong lost interest in making new images. By then, he had been taking photographs for fifteen years, first as an official portraitist in the People's Liberation Army in the late 1990s, and then as an artist in Beijing, where his work evolved from evocative black-and-white snapshots to carefully staged scenes, featuring mirrors and camera lenses, which probe the nature of the medium itself.
"TIME IS NOT a real thing," one character tells another in Hong Sang-soo's 2014 film, Hill of Freedom. "Our brain makes up the mind frame of time continuity - past and present and future. I think we don't have to experience life like that ...
Qiu Anxiong works in various mediums but is perhaps best known for his animations that adopt the aesthetic of Chinese ink painting. His desire to turn traditional painting into moving images is at the same time a desire to defamiliarize video and critique contemporary realities through ancient sensibilities.
Patty Chang's show at the Queens Museum, her most expansive to date, encompassed video, photography, glass sculpture, ephemera, and an artist's book. "The Wandering Lake, 2009-2017" took its name from a 1938 volume in which Swedish geographer Sven Hedin recounts his attempt to map a mysterious, boundary-shifting lake in the deserts of Xinjiang, China.
How the fight against displacement calls for New York City's Asian immigrant communities to defect from the "model minority" narrative. When NYU sophomore Sam Kim attended a rally outside Manhattan's City Hall in March, he didn't think that he would be ushered into the spotlight.
THE FIRST TIME that I watched a film by Abbas Kiarostami, I fell asleep. The film was Close-up (1990), a quasi-documentary that reenacts a real case of identity theft in Tehran.
In the 1980s, photographers Juan I-Jong (阮义忠) and Suda Issei (須田一政), unbeknownst to one another, each traveled to the other's country in search of fresh photographic subjects.
Toward the end of Tsai Ming-liang's (蔡明亮) Goodbye Dragon Inn (不散), an aged film star half whispers to another: "No one goes to the movies anymore. And no one remembers us anymore."
Row after row of sleek black telephones on white plinths, each one indistinguishable from the next; we are reminded at first of the cold, impersonal, mass-produced objects of a factory, devoid of human traces. When we bring the receiver to our ear, however, we hear a single human voice on the other end.
Made in China, the conceptual exhibition currently on view at Dulwich Picture Gallery, invites viewers to spot, among the gallery's collection of Old Master paintings, the one Chinese replica the curator has substituted for an original. The exhibition description attempts, disingenuously, to situate this game of 'spotting the fake' within the well-worn paradigm of institutional critique, and purports to challenge conservative notions of authenticity.
35mm screening at Yale's Whitney Humanities Center, free and open to the public.
Notes for a proposed film series, sourced from real print sources, created for the graduate seminar The Film Archive at Yale.