This critically acclaimed work was one of the first feature length tapes make using hi-8mm, OSCS presents a rare glimpse of China/Chinese new world just before the 1989 Tienanament Square Massacre. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, National Gallery of Canada.
The Museum of Modern Art Department of Film
11 West 53 Street, New York, N.Y. 10019
Telex: 62370 MODART
November 7, 1988
Ordinary Shadows, Chinese Shade
Paul Wong. 1988. 100 minutes
This feature-length videotape is a collection of stories and images of Chinese people in the West and in their homeland on mainland China. The work is based on travels made by Wong to the People's Republic of China between 1982 and 1986. The artist, a second generation Chinese Canadian, captures the ordinary lives of people living in China today. He observes the activities of everyday life by accompanying family members marketing, planting rice, and handwashing laundry. At times relatives speak directly into the camera using Wong as a liason to send messages to family members living outside China. Wong does not seek to deny his status as an outside observer, but instead uses this awareness to explore the cultural differences and similarities between the West and contemporary China. The result is a very personal record of experiences and impressions.
Wong has worked in the media arts since the early 1970s. His art explores popular culture using video, performance, audio, installation, and photography. In his work, Wong seeks to establish a new approach toward viewing the subject. In Murder Research (1977) Wong and Kenneth Fletcher photographically documented an actual murder and then recontextualized the images with an accompanying text. Confused: Sexual Views (1984) was created as an investigation of sexual possibilitles and options. Twenty-seven people of varied lifestyles speak candidly about their sexual mores. The interviews are shot head-on and carefully framed with a still camera. Their responses are edited without the interviewer's questions to more sharply focus the continuous flow of dialogue onto the subjects themselves.
Wong is a founding member of Video Inn, a media arts distribution center in Vancouver, the Vancouver Artists League, On Edge Productions, and Mainstreet, Inc. He is an arts administrator, curator, and writer as well as an independent producer. His work had been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, screenings, and performances throughout Canada, and at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the World Wide Video Festival, Kijkhuis, The Hague, Holland, and Image Forum, Tokyo, Japan. Wong recently created Self Winding, a site-specific performance for Edge '88, Britain's first international experimental biennale.
The Video Program is made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sony Corporation of America.