Micro-Narratives: An Interdisciplinary Project on Video Experiments

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The presentation examines a 13-week video laboratory series I have conducted for 4 years, to plough through the theoretical issues that have formed and evolved from this pedagogic experiment. Grounded in interdisciplinary research and education, I have used the term “micro-narratives” to characterize the general direction I take, which works on two levels. I step back from issues of representation and the avant-garde imperative for medium-specificity and, instead, beg for creative moments to be always situated in the crossroads of different art forms, thus engaging in critical dialogues with history. A revisit of the highly fluid early cinema works brings back many lost possibilities. Serialism in music highlighted the constructed quality and openness of narrative in extreme states. On another level, after Gilles Deleuze and Raul Ruiz, the moving image generates new forms of human consciousness. Deleuze focuses on cinema’s ability to create new experiences of time and space (time as space and space as time). His concern is not the referential value of cinema, nor the level of events and human actions, but affective vectors and forms and flow of energies that the materiality of the moving image embodies. As for Ruiz, the rejection of American cinema’s “Central Conflict Theory” is morally motivated and morally persuasive. His critique is on how the clarity-obsessed, Central Conflict-oriented narrative endorses a simplistic world view and cultivates an attitude of mind that rejects the complexity of human existence. Whereas Deleuze calls our attention to the fine, micro-level components that form an image discourse, Ruiz picks up structuration in story-telling to link up narrativity and consciousness. The use of Deleuze generates a workable deconstructionist scheme for the video artist. Ruiz brings us one step closer to analytic philosopher Cora Diamond’s position that arts can enlarge our moral imagination. The agenda of micro-narratives challenges the artist to anticipate in broadening the viewers’ imagination and their moral sensibility by providing visual and audio descriptions. This presentation will be accompanied by excerpts of video experiments created in the workshop series, which also illustrates how artistic activities open up the hidden-ness of the life world, drawing out what is embedded as well as what is potential.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Video Experiments, Time and Space, Narratives
Stream: Art and Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Linda C.H. Lai

Assistant Professor, School of Creative Media, The City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

An inter-disciplinary artist, writer and curator for contemporary media art, Linda Lai is the Leader of the School of Creative Media's Critical Intermdiea Laboratory at The City University of Hong Kong. A Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University, her recent scholarly and creative research integrates cultural studies, film theory, historiography and the new media. Her digital work first appeared at the Hong Kong Art Biennial 2003; and her experimental documentary "I Told Them My Camera Was On" (2004) world-premiered at the 51st International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2005), Germany. She has curated numerous research-based media art exhibitions such as "The Writing Machine Collective" (2004) and "Take a ST/Roll" (2005). Her photo-text dialogues with Theresa Mikuriya resulted in Crypto-glyph: Dialogues in Many Tongues in the Hidden Crevices of an Open City (2004), which documents their 8-round play with the two media. She has been the juror for three editions of Hong Kong’s Independent Film & Video Awards (IFVA) and other media art events. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong.

Ref: A07P0089