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lok, susan pui san; Film and Video Umbrella; British Film Institute
Languages: English
Types: Other
Faster, Higher is a multi-screen installation commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and the British Film Institute. Staged as a solo show at BFI Southbank to coincide with the Beijing Olympics and act as an imaginative precursor to London 2012, the work was also exhibited at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, in Hit The Ground (2009), as part of the Great North Run cultural programme. A further solo staging coinciding will take place at The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre (2012).\ud \ud \ud The work incorporates montages of Olympic archive material and rarely-seen Chinese documentary footage spanning the last century, with original footage shot near the London 2012 site. Despite China’s voluntary self-exclusion from the Games over three decades, and the avowed apolitical idealism of the latter as a global brand, Faster, Higher finds resonances and commonalities in the visual and cultural rhetoric around notions of nation, sport, patriotism and physical endeavour. New footage shot at the London Wushu Academy points to the mixed cultural identifications of young British athletes today, with martial arts serving as a (Chinese) national, internationally popular, and yet-to-be recognised Olympics sport. \ud \ud \ud Opening with the rituals and symbols of state ceremony and international unity, flags jostle along a succession of parades, punctuated by the release of doves and balloons. Colour bars and countdowns signal a different ‘universal’, implicating the entwined histories of the Games and the moving image, while alluding to archival points of entry. The Olympic rings are echoed through clocks, archers’ targets, lassoes, and gymnasts’ hoops, while the ascent of pole-vaulters, mountaineers, balloons and lanterns invoke the movement’s motto: citius, altius, fortius. Meanwhile, the 2012 site is rendered paradoxically visible and invisible via its blue perimeter: a literal and metaphorical screen, barrier and defence, against which dreams may be projected, protests erased, and the labour behind the spectacle concealed.
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