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Necessary Frames Presenting Oriental Silk

Selected by Gareth Evans. He is Film Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London.


Saturday 11 June 8pm

BLOC PROJECTS 71 Eyre Lane Sheffield S1 4RB

Given the times, it feels inevitable that artworks in any medium or genre, whether intentionally or not, will be considered for their ‘use value’. This can be a world away from the crudely economic, being measures of, and aids towards, resistance to the diverse and significant forces currently oppressing us. Documentary, given its engagement with the ‘real’, however defined, might, it could – and should – be argued, feel this particular responsibility more keenly. This status is only increased when coupled with the form’s condition, its intention and outcome, or not, as ‘art’. This tension is felt most directly in how the work relates to its performers, its protagonists in the territory of the actual. The choices made result either in a piece that creatively supports and strengthens its personnel, or consumes them within a deadening hall of formal and conceptual mirrors.

Directed exclusively by women, this programme adopts different strategies towards the above issues, but each film, it feels, seeks a relevance to the pressured moment, as well as joining in a dialogue with the larger frames of time that we all move within. To be both urgent and enduring. Whether orchestrated or observed, retrieved or reflective, each purposes its intimate aesthetic, emotional and intellectual impulses and energies towards the common realm, with care and for consideration. They are singular and social.

From home to homeland, personal to public, their success in this pursuit is surely only aided by the fact that each maker has, in their own way, been required to navigate borders, to move outside familiar frames of experience into fertile encounter with the energies of the ‘other’. – GE

Selected by Gareth Evans. Evans is a writer, editor, presenter, and an event and film producer (Unseen: the Lives of Looking; Patience (After Sebald); and By Our Selves). He is Film Curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Followed by a discussion with the artists moderated by Adam Pugh.

Oriental Silk | Xiaowen Zhu | US, UK, China 2016 | 30’ | HD

Oriental Silk is an exploration the world of Kenneth Wong, owner of the first silk importing company in Los Angeles. As he goes through the daily routine in his store, we hear about his parents, first-generation Chinese immigrants, who realized the American dream through the store. The once legendary store’s fortunes rose with the Hollywood industry, then fell with the proliferation of cheaper silk in the new global economy. As the caretaker of the family legacy, Kenneth Wong talks about his deep feelings for the shop, its history, and its future.

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