Is there a difference between what you say and what you do? Between how you feel and how you act? Between how you present your life and how it actually is? The Buddhist concept of “duality” is explored in the moving-image project Dreams, illusions, phantom flowers, the first of its kind to be held at Elephant West in collaboration with Edouard Malingue Gallery (Hong Kong/Shanghai). Videos by leading artists from East Asia and its diaspora prompt viewers to question themselves and their surroundings – an essential reflex in this age of the digitizing of the daily and cultivation of the self.
Ho Tzu Nyen delves into historicised truths by mounting a critical mashup of famous films. Samson Young addresses control through song and sound, from the impetus of a political party to the road briefs that regulate our movements. João Vasco Paiva considers territories, how we define and claim them, both digitally and physically, from colonial pasts to now. Tao Hui explores shifted manners of living, both actual and represented, in light of technological developments. Kwan Sheung-Chi addresses Hong Kong’s uncertain future by using, on this occasion, the foil of Jean-Luc Godard’s films. Su-Mei Tse creates moments of contemplative suspension between the actual and imagined, incorporating music and movement. Hu Xiangqian posits our posterity, from the skills we no longer possess, to the communities we engage with.
Ultimately, Dreams, illusions, phantom flowers explores representations of one’s life, notions of ‘otherness’, as well as the disparity between what one means, says and does. Considerations that through the medium of moving image are heightened and familiar in an age of social media and technology, which is at the heart of cultivated manifestations of the self.
Image: “Still, Hu Xiangqian, ‘Superfluous Knowledge’ (2010), image courtesy artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery”