Discussions on the relationship between photography and cinema, or cinematography, have become increasingly prevalent, if not unavoidable. Perhaps induced by the decline of analogue photography, the digitalisation of image and film production (and duplication), along with the virality and fervour over various forms of new media endowed by the ever-expanding digital realm, this discourse helps undo preconceptions. As more and more creators are inspired to traverse the multilayered space-time of movement and stillness, expanding the altitudes of im/material presentations, it seems futile to join the ‘photography or cinema’ debate or to compartmentalise our thinking.
In previous editions of HKIPF, the elaborate exhibition production process of artwork framing, transportation, display, insurance, and administration needed significant time and resources. This year, we have elected to channel our resources and energy into exploring the multitude forms, concepts and narrativity of images; to contemplate the mutual transformative influences photography and our modes of living have on each other; to etch out and reflect on the minute details of a multifaceted contemporary society. Under the impact of the rapidly evolving digital technology and social platforms, the boundaries surrounding photography are ever flowing and expanding. With this in mind, and even the dialectics of its solidity and liquidity, we propose the use of screening as an alternative to the more familiar forms of exhibition output and display.
Stillness, motion, ‘moving still’, ‘still moving’: how do we begin to comprehend the range of these fluid entities? Thanks to our six curatorial partners, we are able to gather 50 recent works from South and Southeast Asia to offer some starting points. We extend our deepest gratitude to Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography from Bangladesh; PhotoBangkok from Thailand; Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops from Cambodia; Jakarta International Photo Festival from Indonesia; Singapore International Photography Festival; and Lightbox Photo Library from Taiwan. With their enthusiastic participation, we can still witness different places and people in our global emergency, witness each other’s very existence, and recognise each other’s voices from (screens) afar.
From HKIPF, we have also invited three image makers to join this ensemble: Chang Chien Chi, who for years has roamed across continents investigating and uncovering exceptional stories of human experiences through acutely layered portrayals; Wing Shya, who will be presenting a performance of sound frequencies and body movements, invoking new encounters with visual- and space-time; and Chan Hau Chun, who has continued, from the photography exhibition 300 Families at the 2013 HKIPF to her recent involvement in cinema, to care and return attention to the living conditions of grassroot citizens in Hong Kong. Their questions of human nature and co-existence might just invoke potent reflections and emotions towards the societies in which we live.