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Portrait of The Jungle People & Membawang & I Enjoy Being A Girl | Freedom Talk: Artistic approaches to tackling social stories

FreedomFilmFest 2022

Date10/09/2022

Time2:00PM


CategoryFilm

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Duration: 2 hours

Note: Ho Fan Chon and Dipali Gupta will be present during the post-screening discussion

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Saturday

10th

Sep 2022

2:00PM (GMT+8)

About the Show

⼭芭佬 (San-Ba-Lou) (Portrait of the Jungle People) (2022)

“Since I was a child attending the Ching Ming Festival, I knew that my grandfather’s portrait on his gravestone was wrong. I later learnt that his tomb was empty. All we knew about him was that he left his family and ‘entered the jungle’ to fight the British. We call him a ‘jungle person’ — San-ba lou, a Cantonese term used to describe the communist guerrillas. As a member of the MCP, he likely died at the hands of the British colonial forces. And without a photograph, nor records of the man, we may never know whose portrait is on the tombstone.”

Portrait of the Jungle People explores both the artist’s family history and the family ‘rhizome’ to honour the offshoots who can neither be traced nor mapped through a series of fragmented narratives and post-memories. The art combines neural networks with language processing models to generate images from text.

Runtime: 15 mins
Country: Malaysia
Film Language: English
Subtitle Language: English

Director
Eddie Wong

Eddie Wong is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. He earned an MA in Computational Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2018–2020. His work spans a diverse range of media, including writing and computational creations; his research explores the interplay between narrative, contemporary issues, and data surveillance through machine learning, video art and installation. In his practice, Eddie uses mythotechnesis (machinefictioning) as a method to delve into personal memories, probing postcolonial conditions, and traumatic historical aspects of his own cultural heritage


I Enjoy Being a Girl (2022)

This photo-video essay is part of an on-going project, “Anita & Ava —Photography as a Self-Restorative Tool”, which looks at how two childhood friends explored their gender identity through photography, as they transitioned into adulthood. The portraits were of the late Ava Leong taken in the 1950s and 1960s in which she self-restored from an adolescent boy to a woman. This work intends to give us a glimpse of a time when they, together with their peers from the transgender community, were allowed to explore their sense of self while contributing to a lively cosmopolitan artistic culture in Malaysia.

Year of Production: 2022
Runtime: 37 mins
Country: Malaysia
Film Language: English
Subtitle Language: English

Director
Hoo Fan Chon

Hoo Fan Chon is a visual art practitioner who currently resides in George Town, Penang. He completed his BA in Photography at the London College of Communication, UK, in 2010. His works involve investigating the process of cultural translation, taste as a cultural and social construct, and how our value systems fluctuate as we migrate from one culture to another. His research studies the familiar yet foreign aspects of material culture, the making of cultural symbols and vernacular visual practices, reinterpreting them within contemporary socio-cultural contexts through artwork fabrication, exhibition making, self-published zines, workshops and presentations.


Membawang (2022)

Membawang means gossip in Malay and makcik bawang literally means ‘onion aunties’ who gather around the kitchen to prepare food and ‘gossip’. Historically, ‘gossip’ has been an integral part of the devaluation of women’s personalities and work, especially domestic work which we today identify as invisible labour. This video work aims to reclaim the term ‘gossip’ as an initiator of memory and producer of acquired knowledge and wisdom, creating collective identities. It is an attempt to subvert the patriarchal construction of female stereotypes (as malicious, envious and weak) and reflectively foreground feminine experiences and practices.

Year of Production: 2022
Runtime: 15 mins
Country: Malaysia
Film Language: English
Subtitle Language: English

Director
Dipali Gupta

Dipali Gupta is an artist whose work is an exploration of societal constructs from the domain of the feminine. Influenced by Foucauldian biopolitics, religious habituations, socio-political constructs, and psychosomatic effects, Dipali’s art practice questions the normative and endeavours to reclaim space by defying myths of domestication, reproduction, spectatorship, self and identity. Set among Deleuzian societies of control, her practice subverts notions of patriarchy, androcentricity and binarism. Dipali’s multi-disciplinary approach layers concepts with artistic and social canons, often re-appropriating less significant genres. Her research interests focus on feminist theory, post humanism, the body and identity politics. She graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore and Goldsmiths, University of London, and currently lives in Kuala Lumpur.


*The making of these films were made possible through a production grant by ILHAM Gallery as part of its inaugural ILHAM Art Show, a triennial exhibition platform initiated to give artists in Malaysia the opportunity to experiment and make new work. The ILHAM Art Show 2022 is currently on at ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur until 23 October 2022


Freedom Talk: Artistic approaches to tackling social stories

Listen to artists Eddie Chong, Ho Fan Chon and Dipali Gupta talk about how they approach somewhat ‘heavy’ subjects in an artistic and meaningful way and adopt creative treatments to transgress bias and open new ways of thinking.


This event is part of FreedomFilmFest 2022, which is organised by Freedom Film Network (Pertubuhan Perfileman Sosial Malaysia), a non-profit society dedicated to the development and promotion of social justice and human rights films.

For more information, head over to our website freedomfilm.my

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