After a summer’s COVID delay, Linda Lai’s 10957 Moons (= 30 years) finally got projected onto a wall on Macau’s Oxware House alongside 12 artists’ works. EXiM 2022: Experimental Video Festival. 6-27 September 2022.
I was stunned by the bigger-than life-size chairs projected. The elegant chair dances and intimate chair talks I sought to conceive, when blown up on a wall, turned into massive, assertive marches of conspiracy stir-up. Ssshhh!!! Quiet. Call no attention.
I also suspect if the title of my work in fact gives the wrong impression of a monumental retrospection of my life. Perhaps to call the year “elliptical” is a quick fix. Each moment I was able to preserve is dense and enigmatic, and my montage method
The totality of events in a city forms a thick collage that rejects systematic reading, nor individuated signification. Objects function like humans. Humans are objectified. Together they form a huge net, each element mapping its relational paths, crossing now and then the paths of others. On a certain day of a certain year, everything connects. The loose threads come together to form a logical while. Do they really?
The city has always been breathing, following its automatic rhythm. Only when the camera is set up in a particular place in a particular moment would we begin to see drama.
In my sudden awakening in the midst of chanceful triviality, I fret, I shake, embarrassed, dumbfounded. (Feb 1997)
A compilation video essay in 8 chapters 彙編錄像文章八部
Linda Chiu-han Lai (Hong Kong) 黎肖嫻（香港）
June 2022 | 16:9 | color + black and white | 58m6s | source format: multiple
完成於2022年6月4日 |16:9 | 1彩色+黑白 | 58分6秒
In eight chapters, 10957 Moons & 30 Elliptical Years (2022) is a collage-compilation of events, objects, thoughts and sensations. From naturalistic camera images captured in daylight, the chapters grow into more introspective fragments that embody unspeakable sentiments, occasionally paying tribute to nature and contemplating things quietly forming systems of their own. Whose 30 years? Mine, my city’s, the world’s cities’?
Images are slices of the world that flow and fleet. They are lines of flight (Deleuze and Guattari) – a series of escapes and entrances, bearing the traces of change. The images in 10957 Moons are thus thresholds between states of being. I shuttle between the virtual image and the real image. The former is subjective and recollected whereas the latter is perceived out there. I want what was perceived and what can be recalled (at present) to flow into each other. The at once present-ness and pastness of virtual images connect with concrete existence. This is how, as a videographer, I answer to the call of historiography.
Hong Kong stories are hard to tell – so the banal saying goes. But artists have always known how to write histories creatively. In 10957 Moons, HK stories are always at once personal and political, to be experienced alongside those of other cities, written for the present. Artistic sensibilities “retrain” our attentiveness. The artist looks for immanent standards of value from within herself: to live well, she goes to the limit of her potentials (Deleuze). How well does such an ethical naturalism withstand the force of time and the constraints of our current situation?
The entire narrative is punctuated by a sonic motif that functions as a structural device: a coarse voice relentlessly trying to vocalize. This sound is a key site for the passage of virtual and actual images, ensuring the present continuous performance of the artist’s murmur. Is it a lost voice, a voice that struggles to voice, a muffled voice, or bold persistence?
I have never thought of an artist’s life (my life) that could actually cut through several decades. Yet this work is not about aging. Its eight chapters constitute a series of sight-and-sound whispers on constantly shifting spatio-temporalities. The past and the present blend as the flâneuse walks with her image-making tools.
Keywords: Video essay | auto-ethnography | visual ethnography | experimental documentary | visual poetry
關鍵字詞：錄像文章 ｜ 自傳性民俗研究 ｜視覺民俗研究 ｜ 實驗性紀錄片 ｜ 視像詩
The 8 chapters 彙編八部:
Chapter 1 | One Take: Many Folds 一鏡到底千層疊
Chapter 2 | Chair Talks 談坐物語
Chapter 3 | Camera Exercises 常常遊戲
Chapter 4 | Mobility 移動。浮游。
Chapter 5 | The past: whose past? 歷史，記憶誰屬？
Chapter 6 | Object-logue, Objectiles 物物語。物體態。
Chapter 7 | Les enfants, toute va bien? 孩子們，一切安好？
Chapter 8 | Daydreaming 白日夢
output format: Quicktime movie, HD 1808i 25, H264, AAC, 48 kHz
Camera / Montage / Image Collage / Sound Composition: Linda C.H. Lai
Video diaries: Linda C.H. Lai (1990-2021)
Improvized vocalization: Linda C.H. Lai
Hector Rodriguez, Hugo Yeung, Ling-ling Woo, Ivy Fung, Winsome Wong, Tracy Ngai
As Slow As Possible (1988, Shatin City Hall, by various HK artists)
Look! Object-Activities (2006, produced by Linda Lai, performed by students at the School of Creative Media)
《細路祥》The Kid (1950, HK)
《七十二家房客》House of 72 Tenants (1963, Guangzhou)
《七十二家房客》House of 72 Tenants (1973, HK)
《雅馬哈魚檔》Yamaha Fish Stall (1984, Guangzhou)
Daisies (1966, Vera Chytilova, Czechoslovakia)
Road to Health (1938, British Social Hygiene Council)
Found footage of old Hong Kong on YouTube
Linda Lai’s videos quoted and compiled in this work: Diaries: Dry Rain (1999), Diaries: Half Dream (1999), One Take (2000/2012/2021), Chair Talk (2005), Trespassing World Cities (2005), Camera Exercises (2005), Excitable Speech: All About Cinderella (2008), Floor Drama (2008), No Path but My Footprints (2010), 72 Tenants (2012), Object-logue (2012), Ocean Curiosities (2018), La Casa 3: the Apartments (2021), Long Day’s Journey (2021)