Archival Propaganda in Film: A Screening with Mariam Ghani and Jen Liu

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Asia Art Archive in America
Video documentation by Asia Art Archive in America

A screening program of two films that contain portions of, or are inspired by, government propaganda. The screening is followed by a discussion with the artists on their connection to the original works and how their re-contextualization can both excavate suppressed histories for new audiences, and also further blur the line between truth and fiction.

Mariam Ghani screened selections from her upcoming documentary What We Left Unfinished, the mostly true story of five unfinished feature films from the Communist era in Afghanistan (1978-1991). By looking at a period when films were weaponized by political regimes and filmmakers became targets for opposition attacks, What We Left Unfinished asks: if nations are fictional inventions, can fiction films reinvent them?

The Pink Detachment (2015) is Jen Liu‘s reinterpretation of The Red Detachment of Women (1970), a Model Opera ballet from China’s Cultural Revolution. In the original, a peasant girl joins an all-female military detachment, takes revenge on her despotic landlord, and produces Revolution. Can such a fraught archival document be re-motivated, beyond kitsch? This piece proposes that re-motivation is possible, but only through major revision.


 

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Mariam Ghani is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her work looks at places and moments where social, political, and cultural structures take on visible forms. Notable exhibitions and screenings include Documenta 13, the Liverpool and Sharjah Biennials, the Dhaka Art Summit, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Secession in Vienna, the CCCB in Barcelona, Garage in Moscow, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the National Gallery in DC, and the Queens Museum, Met Breuer, MoMA and Guggenheim in New York. She has received a number of awards, grants and fellowships, most recently from Creative Capital, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the New York Public Library. She teaches at Bennington College.

Jen Liu is a New York-based visual artist working in video, performance, and painting, on topics of national identity, economy, and the re-motivating of archival artifacts. She is a 2018 recipient of the LACMA Art + Technology Lab grant, and was a 2017 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Film/Video, and the NYSCA/NYFA Gregory Millard Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Art.  She has presented work at The Whitney Museum, The New Museum, New York; Royal Academy and ICA in London; Kunsthaus Zurich; Kunsthalle Wien; the Aspen Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; MUSAC, Leon; the Shanghai Biennale and UCCA Beijing. In 2018 she is a resident artist at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, and in 2019 she will be a Swatch Artist in Residence in Shanghai.

Image: Still from What We Left Unfinished. Image courtesy of Mariam Ghani.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

ALL KEYWORDS

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ARTISTS, CRITICS, CURATORS, AND OTHER CONTRIBUTORS

Aisha Khalid, Aki Onda, Aki Sasamoto, Alexander Keefe, Alexandra Chang, Alexandra Munroe, Alf Chang, Ali Van, Amy Lien, Amy WOOD, Annysa Ng, Anthony Tino, Anthony Yung, Arin Rungjang, art history, art institutions, artist interviews, Ashley Billingsley, Ashok Sukumaran, Bahar Behbahani, Bahar Behbani, Bani Abadi, Bani Abidi, Barbara London, Beatrix Pang, Belinda Q. He, Benjamin Moskowitz, Beth Citron, Betsy Damon, Bing Lee, Birgit DONKER, Boon Hui Tan, Boris Groys, Brinda Kumar, Cai Guoqiang, CAMP, Cao Fei, Casey Tang, Chang Chao Tang, Chang Yuchen, Chen Chieh-jen, Chen Tong, Chen Wei-ching, Chen Xiaomei, Chihoi, China, Chitra Ganesh, Chris Wu, Christoph NOE, Christopher Ho, Christopher K. Ho, Christopher Phillips, Chương-Đài Võ, Cici Wu, contemporary art, Cooperativa Cráter Invertido, Cosmin Costinas, David Smith, Desire Machine Collective, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Dinh Q Le, dmp editions, Dooeun Choi, DREAMER FTY, Ei Arakawa, Eleanor Heartney, Elizabeth W. Giorgis, Enzo Camacho, EPOXY Art Group, Erin Gleeson, Eugene Wang, exhibition history, Fang Lu, Farah Wardani, Fei Dawei, FENG Yuan(馮原), Franklin Furnace, Frédéric Dialynas Sanchez, Fully Booked, Furen Dai, fwf, Gaku Tsutaja, Gao Shiming, Gianni Jetzer, Glenn Phillips, Go Hirasawa, Guan Xiao, Hajra Waheed, Hammad Nasar, Heman Chong, Herb Tam, Hiroko Tasaka, Hitomi Iwasaki, Ho Tzu Nyen, Hồng-Ân Trương, Howie Chen, Hsu Chia-Wei, Huang Chien-Hung, Huang Hua-Chen, Huang Po-chih, HUANG Xiaopeng, I-Hua Lee, Iftikhar Dadi, Il Lee, Ingrid Chu, Interference Archive, Jaeyong Park, Jaishri Abichandani, Jane DeBevoise, Jean Shin, Jean-Hubert Martin, Jen Hoyer, Jen Liu, Jennifer Davis, Jewyo Rhii, Joan Lebold Cohen, Joanne, John Pirozzi, John Tain, José Maceda, Julian Ross, Jun Yang, June Yap, Kaho Albert Yu, kate-hers RHEE, Katherine Grube, Ken Lum, Kim Yong-Ik, Kimia Maleki, Kit Yi Wong, Koki Tanaka, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Laurel Ptak, Lê Thuận Uyên, Lee Kit, Lee Mingwei, Lee Weng Choy, Lesley Ma, Levi Easterbrooks, Li Ming, Li Ran, Li Shi, Li Xiaofei, Liang Jianhua, Lin Yilin, Linda Huang, LinDa Saphan, Lisa Ross, Liu Ding, Liu Shiyuan, Louiza Ho, Lynn Gumpert, Lyno Vuth, Maika Pollack, malaysia, Maline Yim, Mao Chenyu, MAP Office, Margaret Lee, Margo Machida, Mariam Ghani, Martha Wilson, Marvin Taylor, media art, Meghan Forbes, Meiya Cheng, Mel Bochner, Miao Ying, Michelle Wong, Michelle Yun, Midori Yoshimoto, Ming Fay, Minoru Yoshida, Miwako Tezuka, Moe Satt, Morgan Wong, Mukaddas Mijit, Murtaza Vali, Museum of Unknown, Nadim Abbas, Naeem Mohaiemen, Nate Hun, new media, Nico Baumbach, Nikhil Raunak, Nonny de la Peña, Nora Taylor, nos:books, Ocean Leung, Onejoon Che, Ou Ning, Pad.ma, Pak Sheung Chuen, Pan An-yi, Park Chankyong, Passenger Pigeon Press, Patty Chang, photography, Pi Li, Polit-Sheer-Form Office, Prem Krishnamurthy, Qiu Anxiong, Qiu Deshu, Qiu Zhijie, Rabbya Naseer, Rania Ho, Raqs Media Collective, Rattanamol Singh Johal, Rebecca Karl, regionalism, Reiko Tomii, Richard Vine, Rina Banerjee, Risha Lee, Rob Smith, Roslisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise, Ruijun Shen, Ryan Lee Wong, Saadia Toor, Sabih Mohd Ahmed, Sadya Mizan, Sam Hart, Samita Sinha, Samsom Young, Samson Young, Sareth Svay, Sean Anderson, Sen Uesaki, Shaina Anand, Shanta Rao, Sharmini Pereira, Shauba Chang, Shen Xin, Shiraga Kazuo, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Simon Leung (梁碩恩), Simon Wu, singapore, Sming Sming Books, Sohl Lee, Son Ni, Song Dong, Sopheap Pich, southeast asia, Stephanie Comilang, Stephanie H. Tung, Stephen Teiser, Steve Locke, Su Hui-Yu, Su Yu-Hsien, Sung Hwan Kim, Sunghee Lee, Svetlana Kharchenkova, Tabaimo, Takahiko Iimura, Takako Tanabe, Takeshi Ikeda, Tammy Nguyen, Tang Kwok Hin, Taro Hanaga, Teresa Kwong, The Dunhuang Foundation, The Otolith Group, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Tianyuan Deng, Tiffany Chung, Tishan Hsu, Tobias Madison, Tom Looser, Trần Minh Đức, Tsherin Sherpa, Uli Sigg, Umber Majeed, video art, Việt Lê, Vivian Sming, Wang Gongyi, Wang Jianwei, Wang Jing, Wang Wei, Wang Xu, Waterfall, William LIM, Work on Work, Wu Shanzhuan, Xen Nhà, Xiaoyu Weng, Xie Xiaoze, Xin Wang, Xu Bing, Xu Tan, YANG Jiechang, Yang Wang, Yayoi Shionara, Yin Xiuzhen, Ying Kwok, Yoon Hwan Bae, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Yu Cheng-Ta, Yung MA, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang Peili, Zheng Shengtian, Zhenzhen Qi, Zhou Tao, Ziying Duan, Zoe Butt