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Static No. 23 (Revolve)

Daniel Crooks│4 min 33 sec│2017│New Zealand
DCP│Colour

Static No. 23 (Revolve) continues Daniel Crooks’s investigations into the dimension of time and the movements of bodies in the city. Shot in 2015 on Wan Chai Road in Hong Kong, the work is the result of Crooks’s wandering the city like a flâneur, and of his effort to capture elements of traditional street life in a cityscape increasingly saturated with global franchises. The result, however, rejects familiar modes of linear perception. Audiences are confronted with figures in the urban space flowing from a central vortex, their images warping in a conical shape. Using a static, fixed-position camera to capture the rhythms and movement of the street stalls, Static No. 23 (Revolve) transforms people and buildings into moving streaks of colour and texture that seem to occupy multiple points in time at once. Time stretches and contracts, and unfolds and refolds, and in doing so transforms the city and its inhabitants into otherworldly entities that seem to both pull apart and push against each other. At certain points in his career, Crooks worked with David Franzke and Byron Scullin to create sound for his work, and has described sound in his films as ‘the emotional dictator’. 1 The original soundtrack for this work features string instruments arranged with a reverb-like effect.

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1 Lawrence Weschler, A Conversation with Melbourne Video Artist Daniel Crooks (Adelaide: Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia, 2013), 22.

Daniel Crooks (New Zealand, born 1973) is a video artist who approaches time as a physical, malleable material, and explores the potential of digital media technologies to open up new understandings of the temporal and material world. His experimental digital videos distort reality and question our perception of it. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (2016) and the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (2015). He has won numerous awards, including the inaugural Prudential Eye Award in Singapore (2014), the Ian Potter Moving Image Commission at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (2014), and the Signature Art Prize at the Singapore Art Museum (2011).

The Boat Burning Festival

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The Boat Burning Festival

Chang Chao-Tang│20 min│1979│Taiwan
DCP│Colour

Chang Chao-tang’s The Boat Burning Festival—which focuses on the ceremony held every other year in Sucuo Village in Tainan, Taiwan—is an experimental documentary commissioned by China Television, a Taiwanese channel where the artist worked. Chang edited the footage, which was shot separately by him and Australian-born cinematographer Christopher Doyle. Deviating from styles of propagandist reportage and ethnographic documentary, the work not only defies genre conventions and methods of distribution, but also demonstrates a unique strand of postmodernism in Taiwan, in which tension existed between nativist consciousness and modernist idealism. Illustrating the complex cultural environment in late-1970s Taiwan, The Boat Burning Festival was originally edited and timed to the first movement of Ommadawn, the Celtic-inspired progressive rock album by Mike Oldfield.

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Chang Chao-Tang (Taiwanese, born 1943) made his name in the cultural scene in Taiwan with a series of experimental photographs when he was still a civil engineering student at university in the early 1960s. Arguably the first artist of his generation to break from mainstream propaganda, journalistic, and salon photography, he invented a signature modernist style that permeated his photography, film, and installation work throughout his career. In 1968, he joined China Television as a photojournalist. He directed several documentary films that explore Taiwanese identity in the context of the nativist movement in the 1970s and 1980s, and he was the cinematographer of several feature films produced in Hong Kong, including China Behind (1978) and Tong Chee Yi Li Nan (1985). The Taipei Fine Arts Museum organised his career retrospective in 2013. He received Taiwan’s National Award for Arts in 1999 and the National Cultural Award in 2011.

She Said Why Me

She Said Why Me

May Fung│8 min│1989│Hong Kong
DCP│Colour

She Said Why Me obliquely examines the anxiety and sense of unease that permeated Hong Kong during a period of political instability in China, and of speculations on the then-approaching handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom. The work features a woman who wanders blindfolded from an ancient temple to a bustling city, interwoven with black-and-white historical footage of women of different ages and backgrounds in public spaces. Alternating between the past and present, the video’s structure reflects May Fung’s longstanding concerns with politics, history, and female identity, and also forms a visual critique of the public gaze on women as objects. Fung remade this work in 2016, bringing her exploration of the city into a new political context and adapting it to a new historical moment. The original soundtrack for She Said Why Me (1989) is an atmospheric mood piece featuring keyboard and piano music whose trills develop into an increasingly unsettling coda.

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May Fung (Hong Kong, born 1952) is a pioneering experimental moving image artist, known for her Super 9 films from the late 1970s and mid-1980s and her later video work. She believes in the potential of video as a medium to introduce alternative voices to address issues such as gender politics and Hong Kong’s cultural and political landscape. Fung created video installations for stage performances in collaboration with the experimental theatre group Zuni Icosahedron, and is also an arts administrator, a curator, a critic, and an assessor for local film festivals. In 1974, she co-founded Phoenix Cine Club, one of the pioneering cinema clubs in post-war Hong Kong, and in 1986, she co-founded Videotage, the first independent moving image art institution in Hong Kong. Fung is now the chair of Art & Culture Outreach, a Hong Kong–based non-profit arts organisation.

Rain

Rain

Michael Rogge│4 min│1952│Hong Kong
DCP│Black and white

Inspired by fellow Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens’s avant-garde documentary Regen (1929), Rogge shot a three-minute short with his new Paillard Bolex 16mm camera in 1952, and won first prize in the Hong Kong Amateur Cine Club’s annual competition. At once elemental and expressive, Rain begins with a rain-drenched title sequence overlooking Hong Kong and continues by following the flood discharge at various locations and the life that continues around it. From village to city, the film poetically captures details and movements of 1950s Hong Kong, through its umbrellas, pedestrians, traffic, piers, and scenes of nature. The pre-existing soundtrack posted by Rogge on YouTube is the scherzo of Borodin’s First String Quartet.

Courtesy Michael Rogge and Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Michael Rogge (Dutch, born 1929), born IJsbrand Cornelius Rogge, worked in Hong Kong at the Netherlands India Commercial Bank between 1949 and 1955. He was then transferred to Japan, where he worked from 1955 until 1960. Despite working six days a week, he found time to make documentary films and take photographs around Hong Kong. In 1952, he co-founded the Hong Kong Amateur Cine Club and later became its president. Since 2008, he has uploaded more than one thousand videos to his YouTube channel, which he continues to update regularly.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Michael Rogge│9 min│1953│Hong Kong
DCP│Colour

Rogge captured a dreamy, awakening Hong Kong in Sunrise, a film shot on a Paillard Bolex 16mm camera with Kodachrome colour-reversal film. Sunrise opens with idyllic scenes of nature before moving on to depictions of morning in the city. The soundtrack posted by Rogge on YouTube is the Air from Bach’s Orchestral Suite no. 3 in D major (‘Air on the G String’) before it segues into the Chinese orchestral piece Caiyun zhuiyue (Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon) by Ren Guang, who composed the theme song for Cai Chusheng’s 1934 film Yuguang qu (Song of the Fishermen).

Courtesy Michael Rogge and Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Michael Rogge (Dutch, born 1929), born IJsbrand Cornelius Rogge, worked in Hong Kong at the Netherlands India Commercial Bank between 1949 and 1955. He was then transferred to Japan, where he worked from 1955 until 1960. Despite working six days a week, he found time to make documentary films and take photographs around Hong Kong. In 1952, he co-founded the Hong Kong Amateur Cine Club and later became its president. Since 2008, he has uploaded more than one thousand videos to his YouTube channel, which he continues to update regularly.

Hong Kong Neon Lights

Hong Kong Neon Lights

Michael Rogge│30 sec│ca. 1951—1952│Hong Kong
DCP│Colour

Hong Kong Neon Lights, a short sequence captured by Rogge around 1951 or 1952, suggests an almost uncanny continuity between Hong Kong’s past and present. Shot in Sheung Wan and Wan Chai, the footage shows neon signs advertising Chinese medicine concocted from ancient herbal recipes, and announcing the Sincere department store and Lam Yuen Fong’s watch shop—with bilingual signs for Cyma, Election, Movado, and Rolex. The work ends with signs for establishments on Fleming Road in Wan Chai, such as Lung Fung Restaurant and Ying King Restaurant, which was adjacent to the Oriental Theatre.

Courtesy Michael Rogge and Hong Kong Film Archive, Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Michael Rogge (Dutch, born 1929), born IJsbrand Cornelius Rogge, worked in Hong Kong at the Netherlands India Commercial Bank between 1949 and 1955. He was then transferred to Japan, where he worked from 1955 until 1960. Despite working six days a week, he found time to make documentary films and take photographs around Hong Kong. In 1952, he co-founded the Hong Kong Amateur Cine Club and later became its president. Since 2008, he has uploaded more than one thousand videos to his YouTube channel, which he continues to update regularly.

Harbour City

Harbour City

Simon Liu│14 min│2016│Hong Kong
16mm dual projection│Colour and black and white

Fascinated with the idea that personal moments captured by film contain formidable emotional and experiential power, Simon Liu encapsulates such intimate moments with a sense of urgency, and documents the process of remembering in a condensed manner. Harbour City is typical of Liu’s obsessive practice of constructing his films frame by frame. This work offers an arrestingly beautiful confluence of images, both familiar and mysterious—in his words, ‘a view through cracks between fish markets and high-rise buildings, urban imagery of Hong Kong and the indulgence of domestic life. Views thicken; detail lost to generations. A dream of turning two images into one, a density of information reserved for the modern cloud.’2 The original soundtrack, created by Warren Ng and Ben Hozie, combines ambient sounds and noise with electronic music. For Haunting Images, Liu presents Harbour City in person on two 16mm projectors.

Courtesy the artist

2 Simon Liu, ‘Harbour City’, accessed 15 October 2018, https://www.liufilmsliu.com/harbour-city-1/.


Simon Liu
(Hong Kong, born 1987) was raised between Hong Kong and Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom, and now lives in New York. His films and 16mm projection works have been presented at events such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Toronto International Film Festival, the BFI London Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and CROSSROADS at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His 16mm multiple projection work Cluster Click City Sundays premiered as a part of an expanded-cinema series for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s exhibition Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016. Liu is a member of Negativland Motion Picture Lab, an artist-run film laboratory.