Upon that River
Memory is like a phantom mirror. It sometimes shows things too distant to be seen, and sometimes it shows them as if they were here. (Yukio Mishima, Sea of Fertility, 1971)
The artist probes into the hidden past of his family within a 28-minute film. By examining an inherited photo album and conversing with a family member, the film reveals a story of a regional migration caused by social changes that happened nearly a hundred years ago. To vision the river as a metaphor for remembrance as well as an imaginative thread to connect time-lapse, the artist revisits the sites where the photos were taken—from the Fu Chun River to the Qiang Tang River, also known as Zhi Jiang.
With the act of gazing at historical images, the film interrogates the intimate relationship between the subjecting who is looking and the one being looked at. Floating upon the river in a small boat, the artist sees the charming past in a chain of events, so as the reflection of the sun on the waves. As a raging torrent, the ever-changing memories flow through. In a state of hallucination, the sentimental contemplation of the archive converges with the desire to approach the past.