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re: abstracting story 13/02/19


Synthesising: thoughts, reading, quotes

Writing the second essay:

notes from Steve

How could I use what I do now?: the script for the current film is based on another piece; abstracted from the original story; a person who does not remember her past and is seeking a mother figure. I wrote a script beforehand, and the actual location differed. I liked the process of allowing the contingencies of the situation to shape the piece.

I wrote a proposal stating I would like to create a new work using that method.

[Steve: I think you should work with it and make more small works on this basis. Here is an outline of the method we discussed]

1) Abstract narrative

2) Find location

3) Improvise with the situation.

re: autobiography and next works 05/12/2018

notes from Steve

Autobiography and the archive. I feel more and more it is the way to go. I want to follow a procedure of Alexander Chee. Before he wrote this novel, he wrote other things where the peripheral was described while the centre, left untouched. He wanted a very classic tragedy and went back and to Poetics. His character is half-fox and half-human who fell in love with another boy. He constructed a story that dealt with his own experience. It is possible to use the material without direct reference.

[We discussed the possible forms of anautobiography by other means]

Autobiography comprises:

1) A text about identity, which charts personal loss: a painful childhood and the feeling I carried as I was unable to own my identity (did not have one, feeling insignificant from the early days, and later difficulties to declare any). I spent my 20s in the States and acquired (an idea of) identity. I was able to see myself through an individualist, American lens, good or bad. I had to stop living in the US because of chain effects related to an expiring visa.

In that time I was working on a play. I wrote on the wiki that I feel like an exile. Two and a half years ago I moved to Mexico.

2) The story of my life and my family - the cultural memories through different generations. The transformation of modern China through the Cultural Revolution. My inquiries through research and interviewing people in my family.

I started this text (in fragments) in college. When I moved to the States I did not want to make any Chinese friends. I chose to leave China. I made plans to apply for college, quarreled with my parents about my plans, but was eventually able to get them on my side...

In Mexico I went to a retrospective of Ulises Carrión, who was educated in Europe for some time and permanently moved to Amsterdam until he died (young). He was able to talk about his feeling that he never felt Mexican, or that he belonged to his own family. [Ik ben geboren een buitenlander]

The autobiography is a story with a lot of turns. I read the Aeon newsletter every week. Whenever I come across articles related to self I am always interested in them. There are many approaches to self. I remember talking to an older writer who thought the self was a young person’s game. Maybe I am a little self-absorbed; I am concerned with ME, but this me does live in very specific circumstances; nevertheless these feelings are universal; so at the core of my enquiry as an artist are precisely about these feelings.

I want to create a text, a script for a movie installation.

[What images do you see?]

A young girl, a young boy; images of children thinking and not talking; they could be in a school or in their bedrooms; at their grandma’s house; in a park; I want it to be in a western country...]

However, over the past few months I haven’t been following this, I have been writing about art in an academic register. I think this approach is limited. I have learned to talk about art sincerely. I try to mean what I say, but I don’t want to be opinionated in that form.



  • The Cinematic (whitechapel)
  • Memory (whitechapel)
  • Objectivity

on the list

  • Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
  • Photographic Documents/Excavation as Art by Akram Zaatari. 2006/I181 (from the Archive)



See related synopsis

skimmed and/or leisure reading in progress:

  • The Sublime (whitechapel)
  • The Fabric of Cosmos