Diligent Exercises: right here, left now, out there

Diligent Exercises: right here, left now, out there

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

發表於: 30 May 2019

Once again, what is “micro narratives”? It has always taken 13 weeks or so each time to get (my students) ready for a more summative account. To begin with, “micro narratives” is a working category to interrogate possible experimental actions with the moving image, and I want to be freed from the historicist definitions of the avant-garde or institutionalized “experimental cinema” as a genre. “Micro narratives” is a speech act for me: to speak of it, I am returning again and agains to the question of creativity, critique and experimentation.

Micro narratives is about stepping down from event-based story-telling with a protagonist responding to things that happen to him/her. Events could be natural processes, procedures, algorithms of objects. Protagonists could be a plant, an object, a mood, an emotion, a mechanical process. But “narrative” matters as it commands our attention to processes and sequential ordering — narrative thus overcomes the stagnancy of a single image-spectacle-fetish and pays attention to dynamism, forward motions, hidden magic, unnoticeable rhythms of emergence, internal reproduction as well as organic generative qualities of everyday phenomena. (I couldn’t help thinking about Paul Bush’s Furniture Poetry, made 2000, as a felicitous example). To speak of the “micro,” stepping down from a narrow definition of story-telling rooted in 19th-century novel, or, to put it differently, moving away from an anthropocentric orientation of moving-image practice, is just the beginning. The “micro” varies as we move into new milieux. To think below shot, continuity, plot and mimetic illusionism, we think of the cameras, celluloid, light sources, the projectors, screening facilities and the screen surfaces in the analogue; signals mixing, signal transmission and interference, overlaying, image clusters and intervals in electronic media; in the digital age, we think of pixel manipulation, morphologies of colors and noises, self-organization and self-multiplication of digital fragments, naturally leading to the dissolution of the traditional shot-scene system. Just as new music steps down from themes and melodies and major/minor key-systems to embrace pitch, dynamics and duration without metrics (e.g. serial music), to which were further added frequency, amplitude, and wave form (in recording art) and fragmented samples, in moving image too, we could reach up and down beyond set conventions for image elements at the minimum level.

The “micro” seems theoretical but it is in fact the pushing open of locked doors for maximal resources. It is meant to be liberating and yet it challenges our ability to re-imagine artistic creation without the burden of established norms and standards.

Another batch of exercises and experiments is in place. They are organized according to the three sets of instructions I laid down.


(1) ‘Performing my “selves” in time’ in order to

… regain my freedom, unlearn conventions, re-purpose videography and learn something new about myself…”

(2) Crafting the horizontal and vertical complexities of an image sequence that flows in time

(3) Strengthening the “descriptive power” of a framed image to stretch the viewer’s attentive description

Exercise 01: MN2019/01 | https://vimeo.com/album/5777527 

Exercise 02: MN2019/02 | https://vimeo.com/album/5814975 

Exercise 03: MN2019/03 | https://vimeo.com/album/5886770 


The works shared in the archive are NOT meant to be showcase of the best works, but evidences of some young artists’ struggle to push their boundaries.

Related readings

Floating Projects Collective 2024