On May 27, 221A and The Cinematheque present a screening of two films by Vancouver based artist Casey Wei, as part of Jenn Jackson’s curatorial research fellowship sum of the parts.
Murky Colors, 2013, is an expansive 47 minute, multi-narrative colour video based on a suspense-spy novel written by the artist’s father Menjin Wei. Through documentary and appropriative strategies, Wei explores the personal and political processes involved in adapting her father’s novel to a made-for-Hollywood screenplay. Wei herself plays all the roles in the film and collages together self-shot and appropriated footage to explore themes of family, memory and history.
A well known syndicated comic strip in Germany and China by E. O. Plauen’s , Vater und Sohn (1934-37) serves as the entry point of Wei’s film Vater und Sohn/Father and Son/父与子, 2014. This video essay combines documentary and travelogue footage with appropriated images to trace the migration of Plauen’s comic strip, as it was contextualized by Nazi and Maoist outlets. As a child growing up in Shanghai, Wei read collections of the comic and assumed it was Chinese. In 2012, she stumbled across an image of it online in German, and was shocked to discover its true origins. This led her to travel to Germany and China to conduct interviews with people who have encountered the comic strip in various contexts. By framing some failed utopian political strategies of the 20th century through the lens of this comic, Wei provokes the personal and social narratives embedded within state propaganda.
Throughout the spring season, 221A hosts sum of the parts, a curatorial research project by Jenn Jackson which brings together a selection of films, performances and installations by artists who activate personal histories which are drawn from familial and public record. Artists Deanna Bowen, Felix Kalmenson, Divya Mehra, Krista Belle Stewart, and Casey Wei, present compelling excavations of the past, by drawing from familial, historic, and archival sources; visualizing narratives of race and class, and their recognition within official records.