Tiffany Sia: Never Rest/Unrest
17 September – 11 October, 2020
Never Rest/Unrest is a hand-held short film by Tiffany Sia about the relentless political actions in Hong Kong, spanning early summer to late 2019. The experimental short is an adaptation of the artist’s practice of scaling oral history, of showing political crisis in Hong Kong as ephemeral stories on Instagram for the past year.
In this Programme:
by Herb Shellenberger
by Tiffany Sia
Never Rest/Unrest is a film documenting the seemingly never-ending protests that began early summer 2019 only to fizzle out earlier this year due to Covid. (Sia explains, “protests now have taken smaller-scale and at times more mutable forms [also] due to the recent legal crackdown.”) The 28-minute film, shot on a hand-held mobile device, poses what Sia calls “ambiguous, anachronistic and often banal time.” While news media typically distil complicated and sprawling information into easy-to-digest images and narratives, the situation one finds on the ground is very different. The exciting bits of protest are far outweighed by the moments spent sitting around and waiting. But the film certainly shows exhilarating moments of mass action, from a large group of protesters chanting at night towards the city from a hill, to an occupied shopping mall protest singalong conducted by a person in a furry Doraemon costume.
Through the shooting and editing of Never Rest/Unrest, Sia takes up the mantle of Cuban revolutionary filmmaker and theorist Julio Garcia Espinosa, who originally published the manifesto ‘For an Imperfect Cinema’ in 1969. This anti-colonial cinema is a cinema of urgency, a cinema of the counter-spectacle and one that is driven by process and resistance rather than fabrication and convention.
Alongside Never Rest/Unrest, Tiffany Sia presents a new leak of material from her forthcoming book Too Salty Too Wet 更咸更濕, a sequel to the 2019 zine Salty Wet published by Inpatient Press.
Note regarding Never Rest/Unrest: subtitles are intentionally omitted from the film as a means of interrogating the cultural proximity or distance of the viewer from Hong Kong.
Tiffany Sia is an artist, filmmaker, independent film producer and founder of Speculative Place. She is the author of 咸濕 Salty Wet. The first volume was published as a chapbook in 2019 by Inpatient Press. 咸濕 Salty Wet is in Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Artists’ Book Library collection and Asia Art Archive as part of the collection of print materials made in response to the Hong Kong protests. Sia is the Executive Producer of Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer’s feature-length film Empty Metal (2018), as well as Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil’s forthcoming documentary feature, Ancestors in the Archives. Part of Home Cooking, an open-source digital platform collective of artists founded by Asad Raza, she contributes the recurring reading and performance series Hell is a Timeline.
n/a – debut short
Production CountryHong Kong
Dialogue LanguagesCantonese English Mandarin
Live Event — 3 October 2020, 15:00
Join artist Tiffany Sia in conversation with critic and curator Ed Halter and BFMAF programmer Herb Shellenberger about her film Never Rest/Unrest that documents the recent protests in Hong Kong. This event can be watched here and on our twitch channel.→