Corporeal Fluidity, Linguistic Flesh: Early Films by Lana Lin and one by Lin + Lam

By Microscope Gallery (other events)

Monday, September 30 2019 7:30 PM 9:00 PM

Curated by Morrison Gong

"Woman's writing becomes organic writing, nurturing-writing (nourricriture), resisting separation. It becomes a connoting material, a kneading dough, a linguistic flesh. And it draws its corporeal fluidity from images of water.”  — Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other


Microscope is very pleased to present an evening of films and videos by New York-based artist Lana Lin, organized by Morrison Gong. The program includes a selection of seven short works by Lin — including a collaboration with H. Lan Thao Lam — made between 1992 and 2005 on both 16mm film and digital video.

From Morrison Gong:

“The works included in the program were made over the past 20 years – from Lin’s 16mm film “I Begin to Know You” made in 1992, a found footage collage depicting historical images of women in domestic settings, to her 2015 video “Moby Ovary and Madame Dick” that draws inspiration from thematic connections between two literary classics. Also included in the program is Lin’s collaborative project “Unidentified Vietnam No. 18” with H. Lan Thao Lam (Lin + Lam), in which they re-edit U.S. sponsored Vietnamese propaganda films to question structured and internalized national policies. Most works will be shown in their original formats.

Lin’s films focus on discourses of identification and ethnographic landscape. Her works examine the product of gendered and racialized power dynamics implied in media representation. Lin’s Taiwanese heritage, as well as her Western upbringing, are two colliding waves that exchange and explore problems of translation across cultures.

Flux is a constant motif in Lin’s films. It not only symbolizes migration and transient bodies, but also acts as a conduit for cultural and linguistic memories. In her 1995 film “Stranger Baby”, the glistening texture of streaming water contrasts with the soft skin of a baby playing in it. Water is the bearer of a newborn, a new meaning. Whereas in “Mizu Shobai (Water Business)”, water speaks to a kind of sentimentality in both Japanese language and a mythic understanding of “the geisha’s” lifestyle; it carries more of an idiomatic significance. Moreover, Lin’s mixed usage of languages and audio materials echoes how translation functions as the foundation of ethnographic subjectivity. The layered soundtracks, paired with the filmic images, create speculative and evocative spaces for the spectators. ”

Lin and Gong will be in attendance and available for Q&A following the screening.


Lana Lin is a filmmaker, artist, and writer whose creative practice concerns embodied vulnerabilities. She has produced a body of experimental films and videos that interrogate the politics of identity and cultural translation through attention to the formal capacities and historical contingencies of moving image media. Since 2001, she has focused on collaborative multi-disciplinary research-based projects (as Lin + Lam) that examine the construction of history and collective memory. Her works have been screened and exhibited at BAMcinemaFest, Brooklyn, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Gasworks, London, and Oberhausen Film Festival, among others. Lin has received awards from the Javits Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Civitella Ranieri, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. Lin is Associate Professor of Film Theory and Digital Cinema Production in Media Studies at The New School, New York.

Morrison Gong uses film, video, performance and photography to dissect eroticism and confront their cultural taboos of sexuality. Their work often deals with exposure, viscerality and transformation: through recounting personal experiences, or re-interpreting literature and mythology with body movements, cinematic and spoken languages. Gong received their BFA from Parsons School of Design. Their work has been showed at Microscope Gallery, Vox Populi Gallery, Manhattan Independent Film Festival, and Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival. Gong currently lives and works in Queens, NY.

Microscope Gallery

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