Close Up

30 October 2017: Simon Liu: I Decided to Turn Left


This programme is an assortment of handmade 16mm films by Hong Kong and Brooklyn based artist Simon Liu. The works, made primarily between 2015 through 2017, consist of diaristic imagery of the filmmaker's home and travels that have been shrouded by chemical manipulations and printing processes. Also included is an early narrative work from 2008.

"I want to go home. These images were meant to show us what goes where – but I can't make out the path. Maybe we should lay them all out on the floor and try to put the pieces back together. In another five days, I'll need to leave." – Simon Liu

Shuffle Cove
Simon Liu
2016 | 8 min | Colour | 16mm

Forgive my nerves and rattling of subjective colouring and inverted subjects! Views shuffle from wet markets in Hong Kong to family gatherings in English gardens; vistas from around the world are at thumb’s reach in Shuffle Cove! This film is a shaky record of my trudging foray into special-effects printing and the indulgence found in rediscovering old film strips.

Clustre Clique
Simon Liu
2017 | 8 min | Colour |16mm Dual-Projection

A travelogue film of sorts in which various cities melt into prismatic tapestry. A lack of familiarity with these surroundings breed a distant and fleeting view of space – repeatedly navigating from light to dark. This spastic dance with the Bolex turns the heads of onlookers and leaves my neck sore. An unwavering choreography between projectors collapses months to minutes; swiping between continents.

Donkey Riding
Simon Liu
2015 | 8 min | Colour | Digital

This is a reminiscence of my home and loved ones via hand-processed 16mm film juxtaposed with scrapbook audio recordings revealing my first attempts at speaking. Hong Kong alleyways and Los Angeles highways share moments with intimate images of people who are happy to see me as I indulge in curiosities about the potential of motion picture film.

Sneyd Green
Simon Liu
2016 | 11 min | Colour | 35mm

It’s any day, any year in the house of Alan and Vera in their Post-Industrial English conurbation formerly known for their world renown pottery industry, yet on this week they are interrupted by their camera toting grandson. This May is one of moving, dancing, and gliding more softly and with greater awareness. They might have been stars, they could have been famous!

Harbour City
Simon Liu
2016 | 14 min | Colour & B/W | 16mm Dual-Projection

A view through cracks between fish markets and high-rise buildings; urban imagery of Hong Kong and the indulgence of domestic life. Massage parlours, dim sum parlours, nail parlours – its Parlour City, baby! Views thicken; detail lost to generations. A dream of turning two images into one, a density of information reserved for the modern cloud.

Flyer Boy
Simon Liu
2008 | 11 min | Colour | Digital

Trying to forget someone you love is like trying to remember someone you never knew. 

Simon Liu
2017 | 20 min | Colour | 35mm

Upon the North Point a torrential downpour of instants tease their way into sight, but never fully form. Shutter-induced memories reduced to speckles, dissipating into fog. Here, my initial disappointments in a material defect morph into opportunity – satisfying an itch to melt instances together, to see any number of places as one.

Total running time: ca. 83 min

Films shot in Hong Kong, Stoke-On-Trent and New York. 16mm film printed and processed at Negativland MPL.

Simon Liu was raised between Hong Kong and Stoke-On-Trent, UK and now lives in Brooklyn, USA. His films have been presented at institutions and festivals including the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2016 & 2017, BFI London Film Festival, Hong Kong IFF, Hamburg ISFF, Festival Du Nouveau Cinéma, Maryland Film Festival, Untitled Art Fair, EXiS, AntiMatter, Microscope Gallery and Mono No Aware IX & X. His most recent 16mm multiple projection piece, Cluster Click City Sundays, premiered at Dreamlands: Expanded, an expanded-cinema series held alongside the Whitney Museum of American Art's exhibition Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema & Art, 1905-2016.