Screens/Selves/Séance: Experimental Films of Tzuan Wu is a series of solo screenings of experimental filmmaker Tzuan Wu. The title refers to the inward-looking, self- conscious yet self-reflexive tendency of experimental cinema. Filmmakers in the history of Experimental/ Avant-garde cinema tend to investigate into the self/selves to achieve a personal vision(s) on/against the world. Learning through the lens of the heretics, the Hermetics, the punks, and the other, these no-budget works represent the first 10 years of Tzuan’s filmmaking on the path of his cross disciplinary cinematic pedagogy with hybrid influences.
Growing under the glittery shadows of the avant-garde cinema, his works collage different kinds of images and texts, aiming to create a circular way of self-communication, production, and reproduction. Although the textures and forms of these works change, they share similar concerns about the fluid, uncertain essence of selfhood and identities. For example, the early work We Can’t Grow Up Together is a lyrical and mad demonstration on how the self changed; Disease of Manifestation discusses the narrative construction of the selves. QUOUSQUE EADEM? (OR A SELF-PORTRAIT) is a self-portrait to see the image-making machinery as the metaphor of the selves. All of these works share the same theme: how to know thyself? How can it be possible? ”
These ideas and emotions on the selfhood were preserved, but also annihilated when a work is finished. If the cinema is a form of preserving time and body, (According to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, cinema means “ghosts are watching ghosts.”) when screening the works, the memories and the ghosts of the past are summoned, on and off the screen...
This screening at CultureHub kicks off Tzuan's first solo show in New York before making stops to other 5 cities this year. This series consists of different experimental short films produced since 2005. The NYC edition will include live score performance by musician Sean Ali.
- We Can't Grow Up Together (3’33’, 16mm to digital, 2010)
Freaks also grow up from little as well. But the things we had lost in time differ. That’s the reason we can’t grow up together. The film was shot on 16mm, based on a childhood (false) memory, transformed into fantasies and symbolic objects, and performed in a public environment. The elements in the film are both the markers of emotion and time, with montage, the outside world, and inner scenery came across to each other. Some events seem to be not important at the moment might become a crucial milestone in a personal sense. Through retelling and rewriting the memory, the pointless emotions turns to the flowing memory and being able to preserve.
- Talking Cure 人生相談 (15’01” Video, 2008)
I walked the line with the moral rules in fairytales. I’m waiting. I’ll be patient. Dedicated to the trinity of Lady Lazarus, Ayanami Rei, and Britney Spears. One day I will take you to the exorcist.
- Lip-Sync (4’07”, Video/ Super 8, 2012)
Starts with the act of the actor translate a recording of a reading of an intimate letter, instantly and repeatedly, while the super 8mm film projected on his face. I try to mixed the actual process of (mis)translation with nostalgic images into a heterogenic impurity, through focus on the materiality and performativity of the images, and the alchemic manner of manipulation of the images. To use language like the medium, and images as the language to present the in-between-ness of one’s conflicting inner scenery
- Yi-Ren (The Person of Whom I Think) (13’45”, Super 8mm to digital, 2015)
Yi-Ren is a collaged love letter made of various sources. Such as my super8 mm diaries, karaoke videos, and found-footage from Kang-Chien Chiu (1940-2013)’s films, and poems. It is also an act of homage and a queer reading of Chiu. Reassemble, manipulate the materials, and melt the ready-made and the personal into one. Or, maybe the personal emotions and experiences are actually all borrowed from someone and somewhere. Like the line “my moans have a bit of Hollywood in them” suggests, our emotions would not exist without acting, or movies we have seen.
- Proxy of Heaven (7’31”, Super 8mm to digital, 2015)
Documenting, exploring and collage the touristic images of different religious spaces, in Czech, France, and Taiwan. Passing through these passages of the holy experience, witnessing the “memento mori” and the desire of happiness brings us back to the mundane human world.
- QUOUSQUE EADEM? (OR A SELF-PORTRAIT) (9’03”, Video/ Super 8mm, 2012)
When one is holding a camera, it means changes in the way of seeing, distortion of the perception. It’s an opaque state of intermediacy. The image made in this way is also non-transparent as is, changeable but repeating, just as the perception of everyday lives and to the selves, is hard to determine and trap in the stalemate. This work started as a personal project, a one-man home video, which represents the certain stage of my life, and it was produced only for my own. While started working on it again, I changed the initial goal. Reassemble with narration, HD images and digitalized Super 8mm footages, to transform the (pseudo-) video diaries to a video essay about my reflections on the interrelationship between vision, memory, and the process of image (re-) production.
- World's Odds and World's Ends (12’01”, Digital Video, 2014)
An experimental ethnography of tourists. Documenting the touristic activities in the medieval town Cesky Krumlov of Czech Republic. Using time-lapse photography to capture the repetition of the paths, the action, and the faces. The alchemy is the metaphor of their psychodynamic, and their doomed quest of the freedom in the odds and ends, at the end of the world.
Tzu-An Wu (b. 1985, Taipei) is a Taiwanese filmmaker and artist based in New York. His works present a notion of the in-between-ness. Through filmmaking, he explores the intersections and uncertainty between social narratives, the construction of the selfhood, and cinema. He also tries to develop the personal vision and his own micro theories about the world. He holds a BA in Gender and Cultural Studies from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan (2007) and an MA in Media Studies from The New School, New York (2012). He was awarded the jury prize at the Paris Festival of Different and Experimental Cinemas. His works have been shown worldwide, including Golden Harvest Film Festival (Taiwan), MixNYC Queer Experimental Film Festival (New York), Backup Festival (Weimar, Germany), among others. He co-founded the countercultural zine group Post-Motherism.
Sean Ali (Live Score), bassist, composer, and improviser Sean Ali from Dayton, Ohio has been living in New York City since 2003. There he participates in the city’s vibrant experimental music scene both as a performer and curator. His current projects include: Fester with David Grollman (snare drum), Natura Morta with Frantz Loriot (viola) and Carlo Costa (drums), Hag with Brad Henkel (trumpet) and David Grollman (snare drum), PascAli with Pascal Niggenkemper (bass), LathanFlinAli with Lathan Hardy (alto sax) and Flin van Hemmen (drums), and Trismegistus with Joe Moffett (trumpet), Ben Gerstein (trombone) and Devin Gray (drums) . He also does solo performances that involve text and sound-specific preparations for the bass. He is the founder and leader of a large ensemble of low-tone instruments called The Mudbath Orchestra. He is co-founder and member of the new music label Prom Night Records. He also co-curates the “floating” house-series Ze Couch with Pascal Niggenkemper. Sean Ali performs regularly in New York City and has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.
The program is sponsored by Ministry of Cultural, Taiwan (R.O.C.)