Video Bureau: Selections From an Archive in China


Screening Room - Michigan Theater Sat, Mar 25, 2017 2:45 PM
Film Info
Event Type:Shorts Program
Asian Focus
Release Year:2017
Production Country:China


Video Bureau is an artist-run not-for-profit space, focusing on archiving video art. It was started by Fang Lu, Chen Tong and Zhu Jia. It started in March 2012 in Beijing and Guangzhou (inside the Borges-Institute). The work of Video Bureau is primarily focused on archiving video artworks and related material, including writings, images, proposals, and installation plans, in order to build a comprehensive database for researchers, writers, students, artists, and collectors. Ellen Zweig selected these programs as a representative sample of the performative and documentary directions in Chinese video art. The program is based on an article Zweig wrote for the Millennium Film Journal, and was first run at Anthology Film Archive.  


Ellen Zweig has been working in film and video since the late 90s, creating videos and video installations. During a residency at VOOM-HD Lab, she made The Lonely Girl, a short documentary video about a Chinese opera star living in New York City. From 2001-2007, she created a series of video portraits of Westerners who had some relationship to China, and several installations (at DDM Warehouse, Shanghai; The CUE Foundation, New York) that dealt with her attempts to understand China and to learn Chinese. Since 2007, she has been working on an homage to the documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens and his last film, Une Histoire du Vent, filming as Ivens did in China. From 2007-2013, she documented Z'EV's concerts, collecting and editing materials for the feature length video, Heart Beat Ear Drum, her first documentary feature. 


Don't Let Your Eyes Deceive You 

Chen Tong 

China | 2015 | 11 | digital file  

Using theories of traditional Chinese painting to analyze the institution he has created, Chen Tong dresses up as a thief and sneaks into Borges-Institute. This is the second in a trilogy of work that Chen Tong has made for his institution CANTONBON?in the first, he plays a policeman, in this video, he plays a thief, and in the third, a liar. (EZ) 



No World  

Fang Lu 

China | 2014 | 18 | digital file  

Six young people live in a vast empty space. Every day, they play violent games and rehearse marches and protests. They imitate images from the media and train themselves for a world of imaginary conflict. (EZ) 


The Shortcut to the Systematic Life: Superficial Life  

Tsui Kuang-Yu 

China | 2002 | 10 | digital file 

In this performative video, Tsui changes his clothes according to the outside environment that he encounters, becoming a chameleon, camouflaging himself in order to penetrate different living situations. (EZ) 


Swordsman, hahahahah  

Li Ming 

China | 2011 | 4 | digital file  

In place of the Swordsman made famous in Hong Kong kung fu films, Li places a megaphone in different settings. From the megaphone, we hear raucous laughter. (EZ) 


Invisible City: Taiparis York  

Tsui Kuang-Yu 

China | 2008 | 5 | digital file  

Pretending to travel, but staying at home, Tsui tricks us into thinking we are traveling with him. In a series of short scenes, originally meant as a four-channel video work, Tsui reveals dreams of travel and the pleasures of staying home. (EZ) 


Satie Blues 

Ma Quisha 

China | 2004 | 4 | digital file  

This is an early video experiment of the artist. It uses some of her favorite movie scenes. Needles, fish, dark corridor, boy looking out of the window while being spanked - all weave into a poetic visual narrative. (EZ) 


A Cart of Coal  

Li Xiaofei 

China | 2014 | 11 | digital file 

Li Xiaofei goes back to his childhood home in Hunan to document work in the coal mines. In my childhood's memory, there always came a heavy rain in the afternoon of midsummer. After the rains, I delivered meals to my sister who worked in the coal mine. Every time I went by the pithead, the miners always liked to tease me??  


South Stone  

Zhou Tao 

China | 2011 | 26 | digital file 

Zhou Tao is the Buster Keaton of China. Using the physical space of this small village, Zhou once again takes us on a comedic exploration of space. (EZ) 

Additional Information

Sponsor: University of Michigan Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies

Community Partner: University of Michigan Museum of Art