The Excerpts

July 12 ,  11:00 am

 —  11:00 pm

All times are listed in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Ali Kazimi, Bo WANG, PAN Lu

 

Curated by Call Again (Henry Heng Lu, Weibin Wang, and Winnie Wu)

 

“The Excerpts” investigates prejudice, power, and segregation through historical events. The program juxtaposes two films informed by the history and aftermath of British colonization and its ideological grounds, negotiated by the human condition. As dominance stems from a fear for “the abject”, those regarded as “the unknown” are often confined to a liminal space that is under constant discriminatory scrutiny.

 

Hong Kong-based artists Bo WANG and PAN Lu’s two-channel video, Miasma, Plants, Export Paintings, links racial dynamics in Southern China to the living conditions of citizens and environmental analysis directly channeled through imperialism. The work incorporates paintings, archival photographs, vérité footage, and film clips to compose a chronicle of botany, disease, trades and imperial expansion, projecting an excerpt of the history of British-ruled Hong Kong shaped by colonization, as well as orientalism. The ever-present exoticization of The so-called Orient through the Western gaze, in turn, draws attention to the human and non-human entities of stereotypes, especially one specifically interpreted based on climate.

 

Toronto-based filmmaker Ali Kazimi’s film, Continuous Journey, recalls the infamous Komagata Maru incident in 1914, an explicit denial of rights and exclusion of South Asians that led to a two-month detention of 376 passengers and an 11-hour negotiation to send them back. The film title comes from the little-known Canadian immigration policy in 1908, the “Continuous Journey Regulation,” which kept Indians out of the country until 1948. A tale of disappointment, struggle, hope, and uncertainty, the film ultimately complicates and contests the ideas of homeland and nationhood, intentionally overshadowing the continuing searches for home.

 

Both films point to the British Empire’s affront to those it colonized, or supposedly British subjects, highlighting the disjointed realities divided among race, bodies, and space, and subsequently, the very systematic exclusion fuelled by White supremacy.

 

Rather than merely taking the form of storytelling to shed light on cruel facts, “The Excerpts” illustrates the discontents against institutionalized power and the subject positions that carry far-reaching significance to the modern-day discourse on racial politics.

 

— Call Again

Continuous Journey

Ali Kazimi
CANADA/INDIA | 2004 | DIGITAL | 57 MIN
ENGLISH/PUNJABI/URDU (WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

 

In 1914, the Komagata Maru, a vessel with 376 immigrants from British India, became the first ship carrying migrants to be turned away by Canada. The consequences were felt throughout the British Empire. Continuous Journey is a provocative and multilayered film essay that interweaves photographs, newsreels, home movies and official documents to unravel a complex and little-known story that reverberates to this day.

 

Miasma, Plants, Export Paintings

Bo WANG, PAN Lu
CHINA/HONG KONG | 2017 | DIGITAL | 28 MIN
MANDARIN (WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

 

The devastating tropical climate created strong fear and anxiety in the British troops stationed at Hong Kong after the opium wars. The 19th-century myth of Miasma, the bad air, related epidemic diseases with air, environment and race, which later helped to consolidate the vertical segregation on Hong Kong island. Acclimatization efforts were made in pace with expansion of the British Botanic Empire, a global network of scientific researches of plants, which circulated not only botanic specimens but also images created for the purpose of study. In the particular case of Canton in South China, local commercial artists were commissioned to make plant paintings. This work examines the peculiar dynamics between imperialism, scientific research, race, and the right to look in 19th-century Canton.
 

  • Ali Kazimi is an award-winning filmmaker, media artist and author. His films deal with race, migration, memory and social justice. In 2019 he received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, Canada’s foremost distinction for excellence in visual and media arts. The same year University of British Columbia conferred him with a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa). He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema & Media Arts. His new feature documentary Beyond Extinction: Sinixt Resurgence premiered at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival.

  • Bo WANG is an artist, filmmaker and researcher based in the Netherlands. His works have been exhibited internationally, including venues like Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art (New York), International Film Festival Rotterdam, Image Forum Festival (Tokyo), Visions du Réel (Nyon), etc. He received a fellowship from the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in 2013, and was an artist-in-residency at ACC-Rijksakademie from 2017 to 2018 as well as at NTU CCA in 2016.

     

  • PAN Lu is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese Culture, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research interests coalesce around the topic of cultural and cross-cultural analysis of various textual forms including film, visual culture and art, architecture, war memory in modern and contemporary Greater China and East Asia.

    She was one of the curators of Kuandu Biennale, Taipei, 2018.

Co-presented with

  • Art Metropole
  • Charles Street Video
  • University of British Columbia (UBC)

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