Cinema

ORIENTAL SILK; DISTANCE BETWEEN: FILMS BY XIAOWEN ZHU

Thursday, March 9 at 8 pm

Echo Park Film Center is pleased to present two short films by London-based artist, filmmaker and writer Xiaowen Zhu. One made in New York and one made in Los Angeles, both films excellently reveal the complex relationship between people and places in an exquisite, rhythmical and emotional way. This screening will also be the Los Angeles premiere of Oriental Silk.

 

Distance Between (2012, 25:00) is a 3-channel film ostensibly on the topic of long-distance relationships. The project begins by interviewing couples involved in long distance romantic relationships, focusing on particular traits and benefits of a mediated and technologically enabled exchange. Taking this source material, Xiaowen Zhu mixes spontaneous interviews with reenactments by 6 subjects based on quotes taken from actual interviews. The material was then re-configured and re-contextualized by the artist. Using staged scenarios, designed stenography and cinematography, the film encourages the viewer to re-examine their notions of the Documentary Interview and to ponder the boundary between fact and fiction. “Long-distance relationship” is used as a subject to explore issues of identity, home, love and trust. 

 

Oriental Silk (2015, 30:00) explores the worldview of the owner of the first silk importing company in Los Angeles. Carefully and quietly, the film observes this owner, Kenneth Wong, as he goes through his daily routine in the store and tells his story: how his parents, first-generation Chinese immigrants, realized the American dream through the store; how the once legendary store’s fortunes rose in close connection with the Hollywood entertainment industry, then fell with the proliferation of cheaper silk in the new global economy; how he himself came to be the owner of the shop and caretaker of the family legacy; and about his deep feelings for the shop, its history, and its future. The film not only serves as a “beautiful articulation – thematically and visually – of the relationship between scale and intimacy” (Prof. Sukhdev Sandu, New York University) but also presents “a moving and meditative exploration of the ways in which people use objects to make sense of the emotional past.” (Dr Rachel Silberstein, Rhode Island School of Design)  

 

The artist will be present to join Q&A following the screening. 

 

Doors 7:30 PM; FREE EVENT!

 

About the artist: 

 

Xiaowen Zhu is described as a visual poet, social critic, and aesthetic researcher. She uses film, photography, performance, installation and mixed media as platforms to communicate the complex experience of being a diasporic person and to wrestle with the notion of a disembodied identity.

 

Born and raised in Shanghai, Zhu is currently based in London. She has received numerous awards, including TASML Artist Residency Award, Marylyn Ginsburg Klaus Fellowship, Jury Award of DOK Munich, Jury Award of Mexico International Documentary Film Festival, among others. She was an artist-in-residence at the prestigious ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Germany and V2_Institute for the Unstable Media, the Netherlands. She is a mentor of the British Film Institute’s Film Academy, a member of the Los Angeles Art Association, and formerly a Visiting Professor of Media Art at Syracuse University and Marymount College in USA. Her first fiction book Encounters will be published by Tsinghua University Press in 2017. Zhu received her MFA in Art Video from Syracuse University, USA. Her work has been widely shown internationally, including Whitechapel Gallery (London, UK), Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum (Beijing China), Chronus Art Center (Shanghai, China), Art Basel Hongkong, ZKM | Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany), Dumbo Arts Center (New York, USA), Videonale (Berlin, Germany), Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, USA), and more.

 

Artist’s website: http://www.zhuxiaowen.com

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