A screening of Chia-Wei Hsu’s Huai Mo Village (2012, single-channel video, 8’20”), and Ruins of the Intelligence Bureau (2015, single-channel video, 13’30”), followed by a conversation with the artist moderated by curator and critic Christopher Phillips. Their discussion touched on the artist’s exploration of filmmaking as a performance art and Taiwan’s complex relationship with other countries in the region.
Huai Mo Village took place in an orphanage in Chiang Rai, Thailand and told the true story of a troop of Chinese Nationalist soldiers who retreated to the border regions between Thailand and Myanmar at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1950. In this film, the founder of the orphanage, who was a pastor and former intelligence officer, recalled the plight of these homeless, stateless soldiers who remained in Thailand rather than returned to China or joined the Nationalists in Taiwan
The pastor appeared again in a second film, Ruins of the Intelligence Bureau, to expand on the story he began in Huai Mo Village. Set in the remains of the demolished Intelligence Bureau, this film featured a performance of a traditional Thai puppet show. Narrating the performance was the pastor, who recalled personal memories and recounted the legend of Hanuman—a monkey general who led his troop to battle and helped a prince return to the kingdom from which he was exiled.
HSU Chia-Wei (b. 1983, lives and works in Taipei) is interested in the untold histories of the Cold War in Asia. His work often takes the form of films and installations, weave together reality and myth, the past and the present. Hsu’s work has been presented in many museums, including Van Abbemuseum, the Centre Pompidou, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and Reina Sofia National Museum. A Hugo Boss Asia Art Award finalist in 2012 and the Grand Prize winner of the 2017 Taishin Arts Award—a major accolade for artists in Taiwan, Hsu has also been included in many biennials and festivals, such as the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam, the 2012 Liverpool Biennial, the 2018 Sydney Biennial and Gwungju Biennial. He will also participate in the upcoming Shanghai Biennale.
Christopher Phillips is an independent curator and critic. From 2000 to 2016 he worked as a curator at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. He has organized many exhibitions that explore modernist photography of the early 20th century as well as contemporary Asian photography and media art, including ”Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan” (with Noriko Fuku, 2008); “Wang Qingsong: When Worlds Collide” (2011); “Han Youngsoo: Photographs of Seoul 1956-63” (2016); and “Life and Dreams: Contemporary Chinese Photography” (2018). His books include Photography in the Modern Era: European Documents and Critical Writings, 1913-1940 (1989), Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China (with Wu Hung, 2004), and Life and Dreams: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Media Art (with Wu Hung, 2018). He teaches in the Photography and Imaging Department at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.