TIDF 2018 offers new perspectives on1980s-1990s avant-garde video art from Hong Kong and Taiwan

The 11th Taiwan International Film Festival will be held in Taipei from 4 May to 13 May 2018 in Taipei. In its 20th year of existence, TIDF features a wide array of interdisciplinary events and invites the audience to explore the limits of the documentary genre. The section (Not) Just a historical document: Taiwan – Hong Kong Video Art 1980-1990s, co-curated by film scholar SING Song-Yong and co-organized by Videotage, Hong Kong, features 20 pieces of avant-garde video art work by 17 internationally acclaimed artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan. An exhibition of the art work will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA, in Taipei, in collaboration with TIDF, opening on 7 April 2018.


For the first time, pioneering video art work from Hong Kong and Taiwan is jointly presented in a comprehensive overview.  All films in this section were produced during a crucial period in recent history: The Sino-British declaration 1984, the lifting of martial law in Taiwan 1987, the Tiananmen massacre 1989, and Hong Kong’s handover to China 1997 – those cornerstone events had a far-reaching impact on Hong Kong and Taiwan which is reflected in those works. By juxtaposing them, curators wish to encourage new perspectives on this period of cross strait (art) history – and reflections on the present as tensions with China have become increasingly apparent. The title (Not) Just a historical document: Taiwan – Hong Kong Video Art 1980-1990s refers to a statement by China’s Foreign Ministry in 2017 that the Sino-British Joint Declaration had no longer any practical significance.

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 Image of a CityDiversion


Video art in Hong Kong and Taiwan arose around the same time in the early eighties. The young artists involved were excited about the new artistic possibilities of video technology and were keen to engage in political issues. Image of a City is a joint production by Danny Ning-tsun Yung and May Fung which conveys a feeling of passing and impermanence, evoking the fear about Hong Kong’s future that permeated society at that time. Ellen Pau is one of Hong Kong’s pioneering video artists whose work has been exhibited extensively internationally. TIDF is screening four of her most well-known works, Blue, Diversion, Here is looking at you, Kid!, and TV Game of the Year which deal with the imminent threat of China taking over control.

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Here is looking at you, Kid!, TV Game of the Year


The work of Chen Chieh-Jen, one of Taiwan’s most prominent artists, mirrors the island’s political development since the early 80s. In Flash he hints at the rampant violation of personality rights by the Taiwanese media during the martial law period. The power of the official media is a pressing issue at that time. Thus, How was History Wounded by Wang Jun-jieh and Cheang Shu-lea examines the distortions of truth in Chinese and Taiwanese media after the Tiananmen Massacre. Similarly, Cheang’s video installation Making News Making History – Live from Tiananmen Square, shot in Beijing during those weeks, questions the reporting in Western and Chinese mass media. Almost unbelievably, Cheang’s work has never been shown in Asia before, the TIDF 2018 screening will be the Asian premiere.

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FlashHow was History Wounded



Making News Making History – Live from Tiananmen Square


(Not) Just a historical document: Taiwan – Hong Kong Video Art 1980-1990s was organized in collaboration with Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA. Apart from screenings at SPOT Huashan cinema, MOCA will host an exhibition of all videos which opens on 7 April 2018.  Furthermore, two panel discussions will be held on 5 May 2018 where artists, curators, and researchers from Hong Kong and Taiwan will discuss this still widely unexplored field.