These manifestos are to accompany the 18 works in the Concrete Videos program to be screened at Floating Projects, 4:00-6:00pm, 9 January 2016, produced and curated by Linda Lai.
+The project described here was partially supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. 9042111 / CityU 11404614): “Where Else to Look” on alternative screen practices in HK
++All video works will be stored in the Floating Projects Media Archive for on-site viewing after the screening.++
1 Meret BHEND
We shift the scenery now from the inside to the outside (work in progress)
Zurich | 2015 | Color | 14’36” | Sound |
If we stumble, we stumble without any intention.
We don’t play any actions. We don’t play a certain time.
We don’t have any roles and we reinvent the story.
(translated into Chinese by Linda Lai)
2 Ryan CHAN Siu-lung 陳小龍
The Glimpse of Tin Shui Wai: a Transmedia Study of Robert Cahen’s L’entr’aperçu [“Glimpse”]
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 9’10” | Sound |
<The Glimpse of Tin Shui Wai> is an experiment discovering Robert Cahen’s <The Glimpse> (1980) in terms of his practice of music concrête and adapted technical treatment in moving-image-making. Cahen’s work is recognizable by his complex application of electronic techniques that manipulate sounds and images, space and temporality, leading to the subtle interaction between the illusory and the real. It is a masterpiece taking audience away from the usual narrative cinema. In <Glimpse of Tin Shui Wai>, I focus on reconsidering the relationship between sounds and images. I play with the textures of sound and image to restructure different elements optically and sonically based on the motifs of travel, movement and transition within the cityscape. Sounds without apparent source origins are throughout this video. Composition is not restricted to the traditional musical rules. The images become dream-like journeys that show glimpses of personal imagination and reality. The narrative body of this video presents views for experiencing fragmentary memories. Surrealism (strange combination) and mutation form the rules of representation which give birth to a new world of seeing and hearing.
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 9’46” | Sound |
This is an experiment exploring the moments of waiting in our daily life. The long process of waiting relativizes our experience of time. Our sense of time, especially of temporal duration, becomes obscure. We are waiting for something but duration of waiting separates us from the goals. We experience frustration, but nothing helps us to fight against the boredom and impatience that come with it. Our frustration is simply aggravated. Waiting “erodes” our vision and our mind. We see things both consciously and unconsciously. Time is no longer being killed. We are killed by time.
3 Anna CHIM 詹可瑩
All that is Solid Melts into Air
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 4’30” | Sound |
The rule of capitalism’s constant expansion of the global market must involve exploitation of kinds and that applies to Hong Kong — commodity fetishism with a consumerist drive overrides cultural flourishment and anything that promotes the spiritual and the human. Sham Shui Po dialectically epitomizes how capitalism works in different modes of production and affects social relations between classes. Different kinds of commodity flush into Sham Shui Po — so-called basic necessities like electronics and textile products, more luxury items such as those for interior decoration and other trendy, ephemeral products and so on. There are also defective products made for non-local markets as well as second-hand products. Full of life, Sham Shui Po captures the fail yet vitality of a capitalist society. This community is penetrated by commodities of all sorts. Wandering in Sham Shui Po, I am reminded of what Karl Marx said in the Communist Manifesto, “All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 4’22” | Sound |
I was in an acting class in school this past semester, which was a painful experience. In the tutor’s presence I always lacked energy and to him the improvisations I did showed no conflict or drama. While other classmates’ performance brought laughter, I made a scene go down and down. This video is my feelings toward “dramatic” drama. I do not hate drama. But I’m distanced. To me, it is horrible to expect any kind of fake emotional eruption from others. It affects me and entertains me but I never get through it. In this work, I asked my friends to imitate a few drama scenes and I used other materials like 3D scans and gifs to build upon their acting. Some are used to exuding the emotions in a corny way and others are more used to demolishing emotions. While plots and serious acting are packed in this video, I turn them into something else that forces the audience to look at it cynically.
Flanger: a transmedia study of Robert Cahen’s L’entr’aperçu [“Glimpse”]
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 5’01” | Sound |
The first half of this video is a study of Robert Cahen’s 1980 video work <Glimpse> by closely imitating its visuals. In the second half, I develop the work into my own based on my understanding of his method.
<Glimpse> to me is the spectacle of a mindless walk in which what happens around stays as hollow visuals. Things are being looked at but not interpreted while our memories arise or our mind is emptied. But Cahen’s walk conveys forceful feeling to me. Looking at VHS video as a digital age teen instills nostalgia. Walking in his shoes, I adopted old video technique to amplify my feelings. All the footage used was found online. My practice is just like sampling and composing music this time. I focused on how much feeling to be put at various points by controlling rhythm, movement and volume. <Flanger> is like working on an audio effect by mixing two signals together, playing with which one signal to slightly delay and change gradually.
4 DING Cheuk-laam 丁卓藍
Hanging between stone and forest 架空在叢林與石頭之間
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 12’38” | Sound |
I got a messy thought and emotion on my mind. I tried to use my body to say something, but not completely. I tried to use a camera to record moving images to say something, but not completely. I tried to write some texts according to those moving images, but not completely…
I watch you watching me
Temptation yet not enough to dig the earth
Honest must I be to you
The world that resists senses
— the fresh-born I and you
I and you, that is, I and you
Our blood-dripping bodies
Suspending midway between the woods and the rocks
[translated into English by Linda Lai]
感知 的 蒼白
蒼白 的 誘惑
誘惑 的 又未曾到泥層挖掘
To Kill A Hill For Planting A Tree: A Transmedia Study of Sara Pucill’s Blind Light
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 13’57” | Sound |
The “blind” in <Blind light> means the “invisible.” In my study of Sara Pucill’s work, I find her playing with light and focus. Her work is the process of the loss of focus as we gaze at an object for too long. We lose focus without knowing it and stay in the void. Then suddenly something we can’t tell hints us to focus again, to come back to what we look at. Light is special as I followed her experiment. When there is no light, the shadow paints the environment black. When there is too much light, the environment disappears with the shadow. Is the balance between shadows and light what we have been pursuing as we learn to look at the world around us? Someone says it is not about our eyes.
Recently, I moved to a new public house complex that is not completely finished. On my way home at night, I see not only streetlights but also lights from temporary traffic lights, safety lights and so on. They are all luminescent, and each has its radiance and its own emotion. All objects around are tidily arranged like Lego blocks. It is a home given to me and it’s not up to me to want to stay or not. My new home is on a hill, but I don’t see the hill itself, except the part of it that has been transformed to where I live according to city planning. I seem to see some beauty from these lights. I also sense transience and the unreal.
<Blind light> ,對我來說,它的名字是盲光,Sara Pucill好像在玩一些光對 焦的東西,對我來說,好像眼睛看的東西,有時眼睛長時間看物件,會不自覺 失焦,無意識的失焦,空洞,突然又不知道甚麼提醒我們再聚焦,對焦,別去 太遠,我感覺到她這些過程的時間性。特別是光,當沒有光是黑色一片,當太 光什麼也看不見,每一次都尋找一個黑與光的平衡點,而這些平衡點是我們追求 現實的景象?而又有些要說眼睛不一定是真實的問題,包括invisible light 同 visible的問題。從她作品,我想起最近對光的感覺,是在我新住的屋邨,它是 一條在建造的屋邨。我常常晚上回家,途中除了街燈外,路邊還有很多不同的 光,好像是臨時交通燈、安全燈等等。這些東西都能發光,這些光都有本身的 情緒。加上我對這個地方的情緒,公園里的椅子被膠袋封實、周圍都是一棟棟 石屎樓好在砌模型,而我住在這些模型,但我似乎是終於能夠安居,好像是有 一個屬於自己穩定的落腳點,一個家,像許多抽到公屋的人一樣。我好似從這 些光看到一些美好,又同時看到一些虛幻、不實在、搞不懂。
5 IP Sze-sze 葉詩詩
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 4’06” | Sound |
Tudou [土豆], literally potato in Chinese, is one of the biggest on-line video sites. The watermark that appears on the videos uploaded intrigues me. A silly video idea came to my mind – what about making a video on watching potatoes on tudou?
In <Watching Potato>, I mainly want to create a virtual space out of a single framed image, which stands between several layers, to re-discover the relationship between content, surface and space that is suggested but not shown on the screen, assisted by a non-realist soundscape. I also want to emphasize the specific experience of prolonged, non-stopped seeing and hearing. My concern is also about the passiveness of the audience, not only on the level of what to see, but also on the level of the readiness to look and see more. Lastly, I mock the tricky black-box character of editing, by “showing” the cut rather than concealing it. With this work, I seek to refresh my understanding of the medium of moving image to discover more possibilities.
6 QIAO Qing 喬青
Finger: an expanded study of Steina and Woody Vasulka’s Noisefields
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 4’35” | Sound |
I was deeply impressed by the Vasulkas’ <Noisefield> which I studied for this video. <Noisefield> motivates the audience to actively anticipate and embrace its content the way it is to seek comprehension. In my project, I was made my attempt to imitate its form as the basis for inventing a new, possible narrative structure.
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 3’20” | Sound |
This 3-minute video expands on an earlier experiment titled <Finger>. The whole work is like the puzzle of a certain concept: let’s name it [#] first. I would like to make a [#] that is reasonable in a real sense, with a complete narrative logic and realistic images. Meanwhile, it is not supposed to include a reasonable theme [#] or y (another undefined concept), just meaninglessly consisted of visual and audio information. I decide that this [#] should be about a dying concept of [#] forcing itself to make a y for [#] in the last 3 minutes before it vanishes. This work is in the format of a four-chapter y flashback and it’s kind of like something made in order to search for [#]’s y. Although this [#] is common, there’s no feeling expressing or proper use of language, so the [#] combined is really absurd and is originally very closed to y in the first place. … Well, to be honest, everything above is not true, but it shows I made this video, which I consider is really a y for a [#]. I’m serious.
這段三分鐘的視頻是對之前的作業 <Finger> 的拓展實驗。我想試著做一個（在現實意義上）切實合理的故事，包含完整的敘事、邏輯和現實的圖像；與此同時徹底不含任何合理主題或情節，只是視覺和聽覺的無意義組合。因此，我決定，這是一個關於“連自己的死法都不清楚的男人在腦壓升高過程中強作人生總結，用最後三分鐘分四章回憶過去達成救贖”的俗套故事。不過，主角似乎 在語言能力和感情區受到腦損傷，採取的表達形式也是浮誇荒誕之至，再加之時間緊缺、未有準備，現狀在現實意義上否定了合理敘事的可能性。渴望合理 終結人生的男性，只能用短期記憶裡的有限素材，循尚且完好的邏輯思維為自 己編造最後的三分鐘小劇場。男子在臨終三分鐘塑造的人生毫無意義，不可理 解，即便有人確實知曉男子的本意，也絕無法將它與這三分鐘的畫面／聲音聯系起來；但這段故事的本意並非是“讓人理解”，反而只是成為故事，讓人通 過想像、期待、聯想、共情而覺得有趣（因為這也是“主角”唯一可以嘗試著 完成的事件），我想試著以此為方向完成這三分鐘的內容。雖然這三分鐘沒有肯定的主題，但“being hilarious”和“patterning”卻是始終存在的。 前者在第二、三部分尤其明顯，不斷有唐突且引人發笑的變化發生，近似喜劇中的反轉情節。而後者主要表現為特定的複現、平行情節和各種章節結構，使得視頻本身並不僅僅是隨機材料的隨機拼合。雖然完成度不高，但我嘗試了非常有趣的形式和方向，希望以後能以類似的方式做出更有趣的實驗電影。
7 Gloria Shum 岑泳霈
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 3’25” | Silent |
Light itself can be an image. It is no longer just to reveal objects in the dark. It creates images directly. By setting one light source behind a magnifying glass and meanwhile spinning the convex lens, the shape and form of light changes and grows dynamically, creating organic shapes and movement.
8 Don TSANG Yuk-hei 曾旭熙
Hong Kong | 2014 | Color | 2’00” | Sound |
A night of hide-and-seek with my camera in a certain Hong Kong public housing estate…
Using stop-motion, I “teleported” ticktocks through and walls, invisibly.
9 Dorothy WONG 黃加頌
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Zurich | 2015 | Color | 14’14” | Silent |
Through overlaying several video pieces of the same place, I re-experience my actual presence as ‘imaginary’ memories. The mountain is still there, fog did exist; the waterfall and the last shadow cast by the sunset was what my camera captured. I turn landscape into video images, and as videos these images become a scene. Reworking the landscape-scenes into a work, the invented sceneries grow in my mind, in my consciousness, and into my skin.
10 YAN Wai Yin 忻慧妍
Drain: an expanded study of Stan Brakhage’s Mothlight
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 4’21” | Silent |
“I don’t know how to make video art.” The reason for choosing Stan Brakhage’s <Mothlight> for a close study is simply due to his struggle with what to make, while I’m, and, at the same time, how to make it. Closely examining Brakhage’s <Mothlight>, by which he challenged the nature of filmstrips and produced a film without any use of a camera, I imposed the same rule to myself as well. “This film is completed by Google images and Photoshop” appears at the very end of my video. Computer with Internet access and compatible software is literally another world.
11 YANG Hsinyi 楊心苡
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 1’11” | Sound |
Dripping water made endless noise on the air-conditioner of my room for two weeks. The simple room in this video is a manifestation of my mind as the unstoppable, annoying dripping seriously bothered me. Night became unbearable. The unease of being in an unfamiliar environment and the incessant dripping sound woke me up in the middle of night and early morning. Then people would not stop shouting or talking loudly in the streets. I turned the wall of the room in my work into my mind-screen, marred by frustration and distress in my sleepless nights. I keep my work rough on purpose to refer to the limited resources in my life in Hong Kong as a foreign student. The shaky camera window may look like a technical mistake. Yet it is also the outcome of the minimum technical resources as I seek to blur the boundary between a camera for still images and that for moving images.
Rectangle: an expanded study of Steina and Woody’s Noisefields
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 4’49” | Sound |
<Rectangle> is the result of my close study of <Noisefields> by Steina and Woody Vasulka. The first two minutes of my video is meant to be a close imitation of their piece. I used Processing to generate images of four rectangles with random colors, and I recorded the RGB numbers of every rectangle in each image. Each set of RGB numbers is entered into a DTMF generator (Dual-tone multi-frequency used in telephone equipment) in order to get the audio of the “colors” (in the form of RGB numbers). I chose
DTMF sound because it gives different numbers a distinguishable tone, and the dual tone can create a certain desirable instability. Different kinds of effect were used in order to imitate the energy of the electronic signals’ visualization of the original analog video, and the generated DTMF sound I made substitutes the original signal tones. The RGB-audio is an energy form derived from the images, and it portrays the original idea of <Noisefields>: “one can see what one hears and hear what one sees.”
<Noisefields> visualizes the movement and energy of electronic signals. However, the second part of my video is against the Vasulkas’ purpose and idea of <Noisefields>. Instead of claiming there is something more than what we see, the second half of my work <Rectangle> focuses on “pure seeing.” Many people tend to translate what they perceive with their eyes into messages. So I assert to my audience that what they have seen in the first two minutes are just rectangles and colors. There are nothing more than rectangles and colors. In order to be objective, this message is convey through a very mechanical way: I imitate the computer’s logic to prove that the first two minutes are purely rectangles, colors and some sounds.
12 Crosby YIP Hei 葉曦
M.A.E : A Transmedia Study of Kurt Kren’s 31/75: Asyl (1975)
Hong Kong | 2015 | Color | 4’13” | Silent |
In <31/75: Asyl> (1975), Kurt Kren shot the same view in 21 days in Sarrland, which he turned into with five different cut-outs behind a mask on the same screen surface. What caught my attention was how the director created amazing outcome with limited technics in his days – minimum editing and manual techniques resulting in a mask effect, which shows the change of time, season and weather. In the first half of my video work, I use a similar masking method to show the change of time in one day in a view of the urban space of Hong Kong. In the other half of my work, I apply advanced digital editing skills to show different timelines of the same view in one day, as the title of my work says it all – M (morning), A (afternoon) and E (evening) of a view. Kurt Kren’s work makes me learn how to tackle with the limitation of techniques and what to do with more advanced tools to re-imagine more powerful visual narratives.
Related page: http://floatingprojectscollective.net/events/concrete-videos/
http://floatingprojectscollective.net/events/micro-narratives-expanding(Micro Narratives Expanding: Invented Time-Space video installation)
Related reading: “Critical Spectacles & Wandering Visions: Videographic Experiments as Micro Narratives 凝神、界外：實驗錄像書寫作為微敘述” (Linda C.H. Lai 黎肖嫻)