through Mar 28 2009
(Free admission – no RSVP required)

Lucy Raven

Saturday, February 28, 7pm
Preview Screening: China Town, a video by Lucy Raven (50′) 

Followed by an open discussion with Jiang Jun to introduce the 3-part film series curated by Urban China, at Situation Room the following three Saturdays

China Town traces copper mining and production from an open pit mine in Nevada to a smelter in China, where the semi-processed ore is sent to be smelted and refined. Considering what it actually means to “be wired” and in turn, to be connected, the video follows the detailed production process that transforms raw ore into copper wire-in this case, the literal digging of a hole to China-and the generation of waste and of power that grows in both countries as byproduct. Animated from sequences of digital still photographs and ambient sound recorded on location, China Town focuses on the contemporary
recycling of the American landscape and industrial economy as raw mineral wealth for a developing nation.

Home Defenders

Thursday, March 5, 7pm
Foreclosure Crisis: Q&A with Acorn Home Defenders
Moderated by Jose Esparza

On Thursday, Feb. 19, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) members in eight cities kicked off their Home Staying campaign, a new tactic to fight the foreclosure crisis. Teams of ACORN Home Defenders – volunteers from local communities – will employ civil disobedience as needed to help people who have faced foreclosure to stay in their homes until a comprehensive federal solution has been put in place.
A screening of footage from the first Home Defenders actions in NY State and a survey of the current nationwide housing crisis will be followed by an open discussion between ACORN and Home Defenders representatives and the audience on the legitimacy and effectiveness of civil disobedience strategies in this context.

Being with Clay

Saturday, March 7, 7pm
Urban China Film Series – Screening I
Being with Clay
A documentary by Tang Hongyu & Lu Bin (1h 20″)
(free admission)

To mark Urban China’s first exhibition in the US, Informal Cities (curated by Benjamin Godsill, at the New Museum through March 29), Storefront will host a 3-part film series curated by Jiang Jun, editor and founder of Urban China.
Being with Clay carries out a reading of contemporary Chinese culture through the regional techniques of potterymaking that survive until this day. From crockery to sculpture, public infrastructure and architecture, the use of clay is central both to Chinese tradition and the nation’s contemporary identity.

Cao Fei - Father

Saturday, March 14, 7pm
Urban China Film Series – Screening II
Father
A documentary by Cao Fei (1h 28m)
(free admission)

Renowned Chinese artist Cao Fei (1978) follows her 72 year old father, a State artist and sculptor, through every step of the production, transportation and installation of an 18′ sculpture of former Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping in a town in the Guangxi Province. The sculpture was commissioned as one of the waypoints on an officially-sanctioned tourist route, “A Journey in Red”, that traces the steps of Deng Xiaoping’s life throughout China. In Cao Fei’s words, “When the giant sculpture, revered by all, rose from the ground, a relationship between the Father’s artistic ideal and present-day reality was unfolded”.

Antonioni - Chung Kuo

Saturday, March 21, 7pm
Urban China Film Series – Screening III
Chung Kuo [China] (1972)
A documentary by Michelangelo Antonioni (5h 10m)
(free admission)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1972 documentary Chung Kuo is a rare and epic depiction of China as a nation caught on the cusp of massive, far-reaching transformation. When screened at the Venice Film Festival in 1974, this stark yet ultimately sympathetic portrait sparked off a diplomatic incident and was denounced by the Chinese government as a vicious act of anti-Chinese propaganda. (The Party had approved and supervised/surveilled the 8-week shooting, but Antonioni deployed secret cameras at various points to shoot un-preapproved locations.)

From Susan Sontag’s On Photography:

“Nothing could be more instructive about the meaning of photography for us — as, among other things, a method of hyping up the real — than the attacks on Antonioni’s film in the Chinese press in early 1974. They make a negative catalogue of all the devices of modern photography, still and film.
(…) Antonioni was reproached for photographing things that were old, or old-fashioned — “he sought out and took dilapidated walls and blackboard newspapers discarded long ago”; paying “no attention to big and small tractors working in the fields, [he] chose only a donkey pulling a stone roller” — and for showing undecorous moments — “he disgustingly filmed people blowing their noses and going to the latrine” — and undisciplined movement — “instead of taking shots of pupils in the classroom in our factory-run primary school, he filmed the children running out of the classroom after a class.”

Tuesday, March 24 through Saturday March 28 (7pm daily)
Screening: China Town, a video by Lucy Raven (50′)
(free admission)
Screenings will be followed by open discussion with guest respondents (TBA) and the audience.

China Town traces copper mining and production from an open pit mine in
Nevada to a smelter in China, where the semi-processed ore is sent to be
smelted and refined. Considering what it actually means to “be wired”
and in turn, to be connected, the video follows the detailed production
process that transforms raw ore into copper wire-in this case, the
literal digging of a hole to China-and the generation of waste and of power that
grows in both countries as byproduct. Animated from sequences of digital
still photographs and ambient sound recorded on location, China Town
focuses on the contemporary recycling of the American landscape and
industrial economy as raw mineral wealth for a developing nation.