Mr Monkey sees 60-Minute Cinema at the CAC, 2nd/17th/30th May/12th June
Mr Monkey took his humans into Manchester to visit the Chinese Arts Centre, to see their latest exhibition, 60-Minute Cinema.
60-Minute Cinema is a series of three programmes of videos. Each programme features videos from artists with a common base or place of origin, and each has a different curator.
Each programme will be showing for two weeks, and the main gallery has been provided with banks of bean-bags.
Programme dates are:
Our Home Town - Hong Kong; 27 April - 12 May 2012;
Peoples' Park - China; 15 May - 26 May 2012 (late showing 17th May);
Unhomely : Tales of the Island - Taiwan; 29 May - 9 June 2012 (late showing 31 May).
After he'd found all this out, Mr Monkey scampered into the darkened main gallery, helped his humans find a bean bag to slouch in, and settled down to watch the videos.
Hong Kong - Our Home Town
The first programme lasts 53 minutes and includes six videos by artists from Hong Kong:
Old Earth (Jo Law, 1996, 7m 30s) : family history and changes in citizenship are explored via caligraphy and posterized family photographs.
Very Fantastic (Stella So, 2002, 8m) : an excellent animation in which a young woman carries a bucket through an elaborate and somewhat mysterious tenement block from old Hong Kong. This was Mr Monkey's favourite video, as it was continually surprising.
The Well In 80's (Chau Pak-ho, 2005, 4m 45s) : in this animation, a child's imagination transforms his tower block home into something altogether more beautiful.
Who Cares (Tsui Ka-hei, Tsui Ka-long & Chan Siu-chung, 2005, 8m 23s) : Hong Kong is taken over by the Dixney corporation (whose mascot is Nicky Mouth) and becomes a magical kingdom of joy for all its people.
The Chronicle of a Drawing; the Footprints of Time (Wong Cheuk-hin George, 2006, 9m 43s) : stop-motion animation showing the creation of a pencil drawing of a house front, which is then populated by a series of joggers and other passers-by.
The Life and Times of Ho Chung Village (Jessey Tsang Tsui-shan, 2009, 14m) : a collage-style animation in which family photos are added to archive photos to show the modernization of the artists' home town.
Mr Monkey enjoyed these videos so much that that 53 minutes went past without him really noticing. He decided he'd do his best to make his humans take him to see the later programmes in 60-Minute Cinema.
China - People's Park
On the 17th May Mr Monkey took his humans into Manchester to see the second programme of 60-Minute Cinema. This time he arrived deliberately late, and his humans sat down with a glass of wine and a bag of popcorn each.
There are four videos in the People's Parks programme, which lasts 65m 25s:
City Scene (Zhao Liang, 2004, 18m) : a film showing the people of Beijing drinking and brawling after dark, and playing golf and bicycling by day.
People's Limbo in RMB City (Cao Fei aka China Tracy, 2009, 18m 4s) : in this animation, filmed in the Second Life domain of RMB City, a Lehman brother gets into a series of conversations about ethics and responsibility with Kark Marx, Chairman Mao and Lao Tzu.
Paris Syndrome (Jun Yang, 2004, 10m) : a man and woman in visit a number of new developments in Guangzhou. Mr Monkey was surprised to see what they were looking at the one time they showed any emotion.
Yejiang/ The nightman cometh (Yang Fudong, 2011, 19m 21s) : a strange fantasy set in a bleak, snowy landscape, in which a wounded warrior is visited by three people who might be spirits or facets of himself or strangers who've accidentally wandered in from another time - Mr Monkey couldn't tell, as none of them said anything. This was Mr Monkey's favourite video of the evening.
Mr Monkey enjoyed these videos, though perhaps not quite as much as the previous selection from Hong Kong, and he's looking forward to seeing what the Taiwan selection brings at the end of the month.
Taiwan - Unhomely : Tales from the Island
On the 30th May Mr Monkey took his humans into Manchester to see the third and final programme of 60-Minute Cinema.
Unhomely : Tales from the Island includes seven films by six artists, and lasts 74 minutes:
Long Live (Jui-Chung Yao, 2012, 5m 30s) : a film exploring a deserted military installation, abandoned except by a single repetitively ranting general. Possibly Mr Monkey's favourite because of its strange atmosphere, this is surely a reference to Taiwan's long experience of martial law between 1949 and 1987.
A Short-Story on Forgetting and Remembering (Jun Yang, 2007, 19m) : a film in which a young man who sleeps during the day wanders Taipei at night, musing on his condition and the history of Taiwan.
Double Happiness (Chien-Chi Chang, 2009, 11m 52s) : an impressionistic documentary about Vietnamese women marrying Taiwanese men.
REM Sleep (Chia-En Jao, 2011, 15m) : a series of short interviews with foriegn workers in Taiwan, who describe their dreams.
Sounds of Nothing - Drummer No. 10 (Yu-Hsien Su, 2011, 8m 58s) : a video about a drummer who lives under a major highway.
Pig Five Flower & Jia-Hsin (Chang-Jung Wu, 2009, 3m 10s & 6m 59s) : a pair of fast moving kaleidoscopic films which seem to be about pig farming. Mr Monkey found these a bit difficult to watch because the images move so fast.
Mr Monkey thought this was another collection of interesting films that have piqued his interest in Taiwan. 74 minutes is pushing the concept of a 60 minute cinema show a little, though.
Mr Monkey found out that the CAC and artists Clare Brumby and Sammy Hatton had worked with Cedar Mount High and Alder High Community schools to produce a response to the Hong Kong programme of 60-Minute Cinema, and he was delighted to find that the result was going to be shown as Forever Changing Times Times from the 12th to the 16th May. He made a note in his diary, and went to look at the current First Step Showcase, Red Tiger King, before leaving.
Manchester - Forever Changing Times
As it turned out the third and final programme of 60-Minute Cinema wasn't as final as Mr Monkey had thought, so he took his humans into town to see Forever Changing Times.
This features four films, two made by classes from Cedar Mount High in Gorton working with Clare Brumby, and two made by classes from Alder High in Hyde working with Sam Hatton. All the films were made in response to seeing the Hong Kong programme of 60-Minute Cinema during the final two months of a nine month project.
Cedar Mount High School :
Time After Time (class 7SU Cedar Mount) : an animation, reminiscent of The Life and Times of Ho Chung Village, using scenes from Gorton Education Village as a backdrop to the students' drawings.
Short Memory (class 7FT Cedar Mount) : an animation based on the memories of a child who moved from China to England in 2009. This animation uses techniques very similar to Old Earth.
Alder High School :
A Dream Place (class 8C Alder High) : an animation showing how the centre of Hyde could be altered to become a dream place. Mr Monkey has often thought that Hyde needs a rather extreme roller-coaster.
In the Search of Happiness (class 8A Alder High) : an animation in which Keith sets out from China to find happiness. This was Mr Monkey's favourite animation in this programme, largely because of the charming way the cloud of happiness continually evaded Keith.
Both of the Alder High videos are preceded by an interesting 'making of' style film showing the classes working on their animations and discussing the project afterwards.