A tragic fire had raged in a Beijing apartment building of migrant workers killing 19 people on November 18, 2017. What followed was just as sudden, a mass-eviction of residents and workers situated in countless ‘unsafe’ buildings across the capital. Images of the newly homeless soon spread across social media just as swiftly as the action to simultaneously displace a mass group of people in one winter. While the questioning of causes relay online, the simple gesture of an artist to look and go to where these events are becomes just as urgent. The film is structured as a montage of found footages of slow shots of violent impacts on objects and humanoid dummies, soundtrack of buoyant jazz improvisation, slow shots of evicted dwellers gathering their belongings, and the artist’s narrative voiceover. The resultant mélange of sensation is a clamorous cacophony of choreographed chaos, in a way letting viewers experience the slow violence embodied in the moving images. Using footage filmed as the initial events began to unfold, Slow Motion is a personal response that explores methods of perceiving this event and the complicated issues of doing so.
Hao Jingban (b. 1985) works with film and video to investigate the historical distance between the present viewer and a certain era in the past. In her research-based practice, Hao conducts historical investigation, archival research, field study, personal interviews, and live performances. Her works are presented as observational documentaries, entangling individual stories with collective histories. From the ballroom dancing in Beijing before and after the Cultural Revolution, to the films of North-eastern China from the 1930s, Hao weaves together complex historical narratives, social movements, and cultural commentary against the ambivalence and silence of the bygone era. In recent works, Hao scrutinises and reflects on contemporary socio-political conditions, particularly the psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The video is screened as part of Home Is Where The Music Is at Reading Biscuit Factory.
The event is funded by the British Council’s UK-China Connections through Culture (CTC) Grants.