This Friday through Sunday: “We Landed/I Was Born/Passing by: New York’s Chinatown on Screen” at Anthology Film Archives

This weekend (Friday, January 24th through Sunday, January 26th), Anthology Film Archives will present the film program We Landed/I Was Born/Passing by: New York’s Chinatown on Screen, co-curated by Lesley Yiping Qin, Lynne Sachs, Xin Zhou, and VCS faculty member Bo Wang, who will be teaching our third-year digital video course next year.

Here’s a description of the film series from the Anthology Film Archives website:

Whether you see Chinatown as a place or a state of mind, a purgatory or an oasis, a shrinking immigrant community or an expanding business district, its presence in our cinematic imagination is enormous. Situated north of NYC’s Wall Street, east of the Tombs, west of the old Jewish Ghetto, and mostly south of Canal, the neighborhood that began in the mid-19th century has maintained its distinct character – savory, hardscrabble, succulent, and cacophonous.

WE LANDED/I WAS BORN/PASSING BY explores a provocative array of images of the community from the 1940s to the present day. By embracing the perspectives of grassroots activists, performance artists, conceptual visionaries, home-movie makers, punk horror devotees, and journalists, the series raises questions about how we look at the neighborhood and how its representations have reciprocally shaped our imagination. Who lived in Chinatown at the beginning? Who lives there now? How and why has it changed? What language best describes Chinatown? Whose voices do we hear?

Inspired by the fabulously observant 1960s poetry of Chinatown’s very own Frances Chung, this 5-part film series looks at the streets, desires, shops, and struggles of an iconic community that only begins to reveal its stories when the most obvious outer layers are pulled back. Comprised of documentaries, archival footage, home videos, literary readings, photography, and performance, the series rings in Chinese New Year by opening a window to both early and contemporary conditions. Through it all, geography, memory, and observation compress and expand the imaginary and the real of this beloved section of the Big Apple.

The series includes the following screenings (click on each title for film notes and additional details):

A reception for We Landed/I Was Born/Passing by will be held this Saturday, January 25th at 7:15 pm in the lobby of Anthology Film Archives at 32 Second Avenue in New York. For program details and a complete screening schedule, visit this page on the Anthology Film Archives website. You can also contact Anthology Film Archives by phone at 212-505-5181.


A screenshot from Bo Wang's website (click to visit)

A screenshot from Bo Wang’s website (click to visit)

You can learn a little more about Bo Wang in the following interviews on the Asia Society website:

“Photos: China’s Chongqing, Somewhere Between ‘Utopia and Reality’” by Dan Washburn (May 3rd, 2012)

“Bo Wang’s ‘China Concerto’ Turns Camera on Bo Xilai’s ‘Red’ Chongqing” by Liz Flora (February 26th, 2013)

Finally, here’s the SVA course catalog description of the third-year digital video course that he will be teaching in the VCS program:

Digital Video

One semester: 3 studio credits
The focus of this course is on the individual as videomaker. Students will work in several genres, including documentary, narrative, poetry, abstract and diary forms. There will be screenings of a variety of works from video art to pieces made for television. Analytical and critical skills will be developed and exercised in written work. Technical subjects covered will include the basics of video, camera operations, lighting, sound and editing. Students will work on a semester-long project, and ideas, rushes and rough drafts will be presented and critiqued. Readings on aesthetics, as well as technical material will complement course projects.

Visual & Critical Studies