About the Event
From 2pm to 4pm on 29 May 2017, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art presents “UCCA x Wild Magic Salt Solution: Screening Series,” as part of a range of public programs related to the Center’s current group exhibition “The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017.” The screening features experimental videos and films by Laura Parnes, Francis Alÿs, Patty Chang, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Deborah Stratman, and Su Yu-Hsien, marking the China premiere of several titles in this selection. The screening offers entry points and ruptures that together give insight into a diverse array of time-based practices from around the world. From an intimate DIY community of underground musicians and performers from New York City; a city lit up by burning flames in the darkness; an endurance performance that unsettles a balance between states of arousal and discomfort; to an text-based online narrative interrogating the malleability and vacuity of commercial signifiers. They reveal the prescience of practices sensitive to our experience of globalisation and the interwoven networks defining ways of living within this migratory flow of images. The screening will then be followed by a conversation between members of WMSS (Wild Magician Salt Solution), including Liu Yefu (“The New Normal” participating artist), Yuan Fuca (Salt Projects co-founder), and Howie Chen & Andrew Lampert (C&L).
About the Film
Tour Without End (excerpt)
Artist: Laura Parnes
Since the 1960s, New York City has witnessed a rich and ongoing history of DIY venues for visual and performing arts, providing a variety of outlets for artists and audiences to convene and push the boundaries of art making. Tour Without End zooms in on underground musicians and venues in New York City. Following a darkly comedic fictional band named Munchausen, the film explores their complex band dynamics, the strain of touring and collaborating, and the process of aging while immersed in a youth-driven DIY music scene. This hybrid documentary features live performances by more than 30 local musicians and profile ten underground music venues in Brooklyn.
Paradox of Praxis 5
Artist: Francis Alÿs
One of Francis Alÿs’ series of performative videos that politicize absurd or seemingly futile gestures, Paradox of Praxis 5 documents the artist’s nocturnal perambulations through Juárez as he kicks a ball of fire along the city’s desolate streets. Transcending metaphor, the eerie mobile conflagration traces out an imaginary map of a devastated city.
Artist: Patty Chang
SAMSUNG MEANS TO COME
Artist: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries
Based on the South Korean conglomerate SAMSUNG, the story uses dead-pan humor and language to speak of the delirious and pervasive ability of brands, and how they enter into the psyche of our everyday lives. Drama and rhythm is manipulated by adapting the scale and rapid pace at which the text appears. The result is an online vignette portraying a surreal interaction with consumerist culture——a flash-based scenario, which becomes enlivened suddenly in the moment when the corporate brand enters into the sexual fantasies of a person inside a kitchen while washing dishes.
Artist: Deborah Stratman
Hacked Circuit is a single-shot, choreographed portrait of the Foley process, revealing multiple layers of fabrication and imposition. The circular camera path moves us inside and back out of a Foley stage in Burbank, CA. While portraying sound artists at work, typically invisible support mechanisms of filmmaking are exposed, as are, by extension and quotation, governmental violations of individual privacy. The scene being foleyed is the final sequence from The Conversation where Gene Hackman’s character Harry Caul tears apart his room searching for a ‘bug’ that he suspects has been covertly planted. The look of Caul’s apartment as he tears it apart mirrors the visual chaos of the Foley stage. This mirroring is also evident in the dual portraits of sonic espionage expert Caul and Foley artist Gregg Barbanell, for whom professionalism is marked by an invisibility of craft. These filmic quotations ground Hacked Circuit, evoking paranoia, and a sense of conviction alongside a lack of certainty about what is visible. The complication of the seen, the known, the heard, and the undetectable provides thematic parallels between the stagecraft of Foley and a pervasive climate of government surveillance.
Artist: Su Yu Hsein
Prophet was originally a play written by Taiwanese avant-garde artist Huang Hua-Chen and one of the first programs performed by Theatre Quarterly at Tien Educational Center in 1965. It marked the beginning of experimental play writing in postwar Taiwan. The play depicts a married couple going to see a stage show, but the only things on the stage are the movement of light/shadows and screen, coupled with the sound of rope pulleys, while the male and female lead sit in the audience talking. They start by discussing the banalities of daily life in a whisper, but this gradually devolves into complaining and arguing. As a professional copyist, the husband believes he’s played the role of mentor since the May Fourth Movement in China and defends himself, saying he could not realize the movement’s ideals due to a lack of resources. His character showcases the psychological disorder of a modernist.