(Tending) (to) (Ta) is an exchange of internal letters between two beings imagining one another across parallel realms. Communicating to an envisioned other who exists as a possibility beyond their self-perceived boundaries of reality, these two beings meet in a shared world of imagination.
The film grounds itself in tā, the monosyllabic sound which in Mandarin Chinese encompasses all third person pronouns: 他 (third person male), 她 (third person female), and 它 (more-than-human lifeforms and objects). As these multiple genders are all pronounced 'tā', the word 'ta' has in recent years been reconfigured and adopted as a gender neutral pronoun in colloquial contexts in Mainland China, in both queer spaces and beyond.
Extending the potentials of tā, (Tending) (to) (Ta) imagines an alternate world in which the potentialities of rethinking identity have long since been expanded. In the exchange between these two protagonists reaching for the unknown, our contemporary reality – where life is inescapably racialised, gendered and classed – collides with another realm. Here the links between identity, power and the body have been resown such that wholly new levels of subjectivity now flourish.
(Tending) (to) (Ta) asks where the boundaries of our understanding and imagination are drawn, how to reach beyond them, and what unforeseen modes of governing and policing might wait for us, if we were to leap across to the other side.
April Lin 林森 (b. 1996, Stockholm — they/them) is an artist-filmmaker investigating image-making as a site for the construction, sustenance, and dissemination of co-existent yet conflicting truths. They dream & explore & critique & fret & catastrophise & imagine & play with the potentials that the moving image holds — for a collective remembering of forgotten pasts, for a critical examining of normalised presents, and for a visualising of freer futures as, of course, imagined from the periphery.
April Lin 林森 uses video as a self-reflexive and cathartic tool, interweaving strands of auto-biography, world-building, documentary, performance, and the post-Internet, topped off with an inevitable garnish consisting of the other matters dialoguing with their brain and heart during the making process of each piece. Uniting their genre-fluid body of work is a commitment to centring oppressed knowledges, building an ethics of collaboration around reciprocal care, and exploring the linkages between history, memory, and interpersonal and structural trauma.
Exhibition dates: 3 Jul — 4 Sep 2021
Opening event: Saturday 3 July, 2-6pm – RSVP by email required