We Don’t See Our Shadows
Programmed by Peixuan Ouyang
In-person screening @ The Plan: March 24, 2023
Virtual Screening @ The Neu Lithium: March 27—April 2, 2023
We Don’t See Our Shadows presents a series of time-based works, featuring Gauri Awasthi, Aashna Singh, Lin Chen, Che Yeh, Leonardo Pirondi, Vesper Guo, Ruby Que, Eugene Tang, Zhuang Leng and Qingqian Liu, with an in-person workshop presented by Xuan Liu and Youkun Zhou from the Fake Green Cards Project.
Parallel to the current exhibition at The Plan, Winter Survival, curated by Yue Xu, We Don’t See Our Shadows echoes the sentiments and reveries of the diasporic experience, showcasing a wide range of moving image experimentations by international artists and filmmakers in the process of obtaining and securing a place to be in the United States, a country that follows a groundhog’s prediction for the arrival of the spring. This program demonstrates what films and videos can take in and break from, with a variety of projects that are personal, self-reflexive, playful and imaginative. With lights and shadows that we create, we make our own announcement:
“Faithful followers, there is no shadow of us and a beautiful spring it shall be.”
Lotus Fishing at the JK Temple
Gauri Awasthi, Aashna Singh, TRT 2:01
An older speaker revisits the memory of visiting a temple in her hometown with her grandfather—in this short film, she catches upon her earliest understanding of love.
From South to North
Lin Chen, TRT 9:01
About a memory and an impending trip from south to north.
Rehearsal for Encountering
Che Yeh, TRT 9:13
“Rehearsal For Encountering looks into the moment of intercultural contact between the Asian indentured laborers and the enslaved people from Africa, who were either coerced or tricked into laboring in plantations in the Caribbean during the mid-19th century. The film is structured with footage taken during a research trip when I revisited sites that were documented in historical archives in Cuba. The footage is accompanied by texts generated by pulling apart and weaving together various theoretical writings. They are narrated in two languages—Cantonese and Spanish. The narration is interrupted and punctuated by electronic sound, conga drum beats, recordings of Jazz shedding, and a jazz conversation between musicians/theorists Fred Ho and Salim Washington. While arranging the sounds and images for the film, I try to bring in wandering, destabilizing, and colliding. These forms of movement aim to cultivate bodily viewing experiences that resemble acts of teetering in between and to work around the static pastness within histories.” —Che Yeh
In Search of Mount Analogue
Leonardo Pirondi, TRT 3:36
In Search of Mount Analogue journeys through ocean and land, bringing life to the imagined, metaphorical, and mysterious island from the 1952 novel, Mount Analogue, by René Daumal. The film uses 16mm film to capture computer-generated images that create an immersive, but rather odd, landscape of Mount Analogue.
Vesper Guo, TRT 11:50
“YAN is a video essay inspired by my personal experience of quitting smoking. Within the duration of smoking a cigarette, the process of dealing with my addiction is paralleled to an attempt to reconcile with myself from my memory with a disconnected friendship - a relationship sustained via pixels.” —Vesper Guo
Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting
Ruby Que, TRT 1:29
In a haunted house, whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. The search for an exit continues.
a fly on the wall, a deer in the headlights
Eugene Tang, TRT 9:44
“A fly on the wall, a deer in the headlights is an ongoing video choreography series where I photograph older nude models in their homes, who I find through online posts. In these posts, I ask for local nude models, inclusive of different body types, however almost only white men have replied. These posts are neither sexual nor implying a sexual exchange. A video camera runs in the background pointing towards me and the models to capture our interactions and conversations. I place myself in the center of these unexpected and spontaneous encounters, and I am interested in these negotiation of transactions. This series reveals the loneliness of life in a post-pandemic situation, the invisibility of queer identity, fetishization and exoticization towards the Asian gay body, and the sexuality of the stigmatized bodies within exhibitionism.” —Eugene Tang
i-458 (Vanishing Point)
Zhuang Leng, TRT 7:28
i-485 (Vanishing Point) is a document-zine, and a (desktop) performance performed over several zoom meetings during the pandemic. It investigates a friend’s green card marriage that took place in Las Vegas back in October 2019. Photographic images are arranged, juxtaposed and attached to the i-485 form, a form designated to be used by a person in the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status.
Spring Festival (work-in-progress)
Qingqian Liu, TRT 21:19
“When COVID-19 hit, I had already lived in the US for 4 years. I couldn’t go back to China for the Spring Festival, so my mom started sending me videos of family gatherings. We began having more conversations over the phone, during which we talked about topics we had never talked about before. I wanted to understand my mother as a person, beyond just her role as my parent, and to know more about her youth during the social changes in China. As part of her generation, my mother had witnessed many significant events in China’s recent history, including Mao’s death, economic reforms, the influence of Western culture, and the 1989 Tiananmen protest. She married my father and gave birth to me in the early 90s, a time when many believe that China promised prosperity, openness, and individual freedom.
“However, she believes that the past should stay in the past and that I should focus on the present instead. Despite our differences, we trust each other in the collaboration of making this work. This film reveals a complex relationship between two generations, through the use of vernacular footage that highlights the quotidian aspect of life.” —Qingqian Liu