Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film 2008 Fear Remembered

Schedule 2008Tickets and DirectionsFabulous Festival of Fringe Film HomeOpening ReceptionA Pathless LandFn FsFear RememberedPeople's ChoiceHandmade Film WorkshopHarvesting the YukonExperiments With TruthTrue Meaning of PicturesTrip-Hop MetropolisAndrew Lampert: Projection Performance



Thursday, July 30, 9 pm, Middle Dam in Durham
(In the event of rain we will use the Symphony Barn)

by Heather Keung

Heather Keung

Resisting romanticism while simultaneously acting out fantasies, this peculiar and provocative selection of mixed-media performance videos includes some of the most memorable Asian female artists I’ve encountered: Alison S.M. Kobayashi (Canada), Jin-Me Yoon (South Korea/Canada), Laurel Nakadate (USA), C. Snatch Z. (Japan), Patty Chang (USA), Serena Lee and Lesley Loksi Chan (Canada). Whether it is through playful childlike engagement or in-your-face burlesque action, these artists distinctly confuse and confront the contemporary creation and appropriation of marginalized race, gender and sexual identities through the visibility, vulnerability and vigor of their bodies.

Do Good by Alison S.M. Kobayashi explores notions of how ‘good’ is defined and is inspired by her experiences growing up in Brownies. Kobayashi unabashedly transforms herself into charming child-like characters that pleasantly re-interpret and re-define the teachings of this infamous club. This sweet little piece offers earnest portraits of little girls, as Kobayashi hilariously channels and embodies their spirits.

In As It Is Becoming (Seoul, Korea): Teum/Passages, artist Jin-me Yoon crawls like an alien creature or wounded insect throughout the markets and alleyways in Seoul. A rigorous conceptual embodiment of horizontally, (a concept that concludes that nothing in the world is static), Yoon counters the vertical axis of a city under rapid upward development. Moving cautiously on a horizontal plane, this awkward yet extremely determined action evokes scenes of evasion and/or survival combat techniques. At the feet of passers-by she goes unnoticed or perhaps ignored which raises questions about social integration, immigration and how the national/foreign body is seen/not seen. Returning as a foreigner in her country of origin, Yoon searches for Korean culture from the most basic ground level, skimming the ground she interrupts movement of peoples and ultimately challenges the flow and direction of the masses.

In Beg For Your Life, Laurel Nakadate blurs the line between prey and predator in staged homicidal fantasies that include anonymous men she meets on street corners and truck stops. In one scene, Nakadate holds a gun to the head of a man begging for his life, in another she submits herself to the demands of her captor. Frequently approached by men, she collapses her experiences into almost innocent role-play. Greeting them with sympathy and trust, she reverses the dynamics of sex, power and violence typically found between older men and young women. Nakadate’s flirtation with danger unexpectedly creates a touching human experience.

In How To Use A Weapon, a response to the 2004 U.S. attack on Iraq, artist/exotic dancer C. Snatch Z. sports a dominatrix strap-on and a pair of boxing gloves while lip-syncing and dancing to clashing images of pop culture, terrorist leaders and brutalized bodies. Provoking emotions of both compassion and anger, her actions raise serious questions about the power of sex, love, art and women in the face of international human rights violations. Jaw dropping in its combination of controversial sociopolitical imagery with eroticized bodily actions, this anti-war statement courageously draws on similarities between government and terrorists actions, and actively relates this violence to the silencing of difference. Z. is an erotic performer who uses her female body to further complicate dialogue about ethics, corruption, propaganda and freedom. Her physical investment creates a terrifying sense of immediacy and urgency, while it also inspires artists/performers to approach art practice freely, with deep emotions and the guts of revolution.

Also well known for her visceral performances, Patty Chang uses her body and the camera lens to investigate the fabrication of semiotics. Her video, In Love references early performance work by Marina Abramovic and includes a split screen of Chang sharing an onion with both of her parents. While deconstructing an illusion, the intense actions portray a conflict between passion and pain.

The highlight of the night will be Live Long and Prosper, a new live overhead animation created by Serena Lee and Lesley Loksi Chan especially for this occasion. Both artists share an exciting exploration mixed media presentation including projection, live sound and found objects. Live overhead animation requires tactful consideration, as their hands carefully construct a narrative. While being a live performance of sorts, the artists’ presence is restrained as they focus on the eccentric subtleties of a fading generation of elderly Asian women.

The works included in the program share similar sensibilities; they challenge conventions of form and explore their positions by turning the camera onto themselves. As performance artist choose to make their bodies visible on screen, I have also been questioning my own visibility as the programmer. I have decided to do something a bit taboo (at least for programmers) and include one of my recent performance videos to be part of this dialogue. Bending Over Backwards is a performance that looks at the vulnerability of the body in a test of mental will versus physical limits. Looking at these artists I am inspired by the extent to which they will put themselves forward in order to make perplexing statements, expose uncomfortable realities and unravel master narratives.



Bending Over Backwards
(Canada/Hong Kong, 2008, 2:37 min)
Heather Keung

Do Good
(Canada, 2009, 10 min)
Alison S.M. Kobayashi

Beg For Your Life
(US, 2006,13 min)
Laurel Nakadate

As It Is Becoming (Seoul, Korea): Teum/Passages Through
(Canada/ South Korea, 2008, 9:27 min)
Jin-Me Yoon

How To Use A Weapon
(Japan, 2004, 6 min)
C. Snatch Z.

In Love
(US, 2001, 3:28 min)
Patty Chang

In Love, Patty Chang

Live Long and Prosper
New work with live performance
(Canada, 2009, 10 min)
Serena Lee & Lesley Loksi Chan