Speculative Place is a living-dead space. Originally founded in Hong Kong, now re-emerged as an artist-run project, Speculative Place endures in printed form, on the web, and in occasional workshops and talks.
We aim to stage interventions to disperse the necessary and urgent archival projects and discourse around alternative film and print that may be encumbered by national jurisdictions, cultural bounds and definitions. Our interests center on challenging the boundaries of area studies, supporting daring new works and fomenting critical conversations across mediums, disciplines and place.
Ceasing its physical residency in 2021, Speculative Place formerly operated as an experimental, cohabitating and elastic residency hosting over twenty residents working in film, writing and art, including Carolyn Lazard, Elvia Wilk, Ming Lin, Leo Goldsmith, The Centre for Land Affairs, Joshua Gen Solondz, Haley Josephs, Alex Nguyen-Vo, Jimi Tsang, Karen Cheung and many others since 2018 on Lamma Island in Hong Kong.
Due to the ongoing political changes in Hong Kong, the relocation of Speculative Place brings with it a renewed aim to provide an open and virtual site for ongoing collaboration, discourse and screenings between a dispersed group of artists, filmmakers and writers. As a recently unmoored site with future goals to re-establish as a residency space, in its next chapter, Speculative Place seeks to maintain a presence in the interim as an apparitional, living-dead project space through partnerships and collaboration with various arts spaces and collectives to reroute and recirculate new possibilities.
Fan Ho Weekend | Light Industry, New York, NY | April 21-23, 2023
Curated by Timmy Chih-Ting Chen and Presented with Speculative Place.
Friday, April 21 at 7:30pm
Lost, Fan Ho and Sun Po-ling, 1970, digital projection, 90 mins
Saturday, April 22 at 7:30pm
Yu Pui Tsuen, Fan Ho, 1987, digital projection, 102 mins
Sunday, April 23 at 7:30pm
L’Air du Temps, Fan Ho, 1990, 16mm, 85 mins
Shanghai émigré artist Fan Ho (1931-2016) is at once revered as a Hong Kong street photographer and stigmatized as a commercially successful director of softcore Category III films (Hong Kong's equivalent to an X rating). Many people know Fan Ho played Monk Xuanzang in four Shaw Brothers adaptations of Journey to the West between 1966 and 1968, though far fewer are familiar with Ho’s experimental films from the same period, which are among the more than 30 movies he directed between the mid-1960s and the mid-1990s.
Lost, Fan Ho’s first feature-length film, co-directed with photographer Sun Po-ling, was considered lost for close to half a century, until Reel to Reel Institute located the only surviving 35mm print (with German subtitles) from the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, and brought it to light in 2021. After its premiere at Cannes in 1970, Lost was screened at the First Festival of Women’s Films in New York City in June, 1972 following filmmaker Tang Shu Shuen’s recommendation. Based on Ho’s earlier experiment Study No. 1 (1966), Lost concerns a Hong Kong ink artist caught between Chinese and Western influences, between spiritual and erotic pursuits.
Trippy with a touch of zen, Yu Pui Tsuen was released one year before the institutionalization of the Category III rating in 1988. This work was a transitional, trendsetting film that drew from the “wind and moon” genre of Sinophone literary erotica and anticipated the popular Sex and Zen series in the 1990s, as well as the anticlimactic hit 3D Sex and Zen(2011). Faithful to its source material, 17th-century novel The Carnal Prayer Mat, Yu Pui Tsuen combines the pleasures of the flesh with a story of karmic retribution, focusing on the restraint, rather than release, of desire.
A rare and underrated film, L’Air du Temps was made in post-martial-law Taiwan and is centered around a newspaper article about a single mother looking for the father of her son. The child is the product of a drunken encounter twelve years prior, on December 16, 1978, when the United States cut its official ties with Taiwan in order to establish relations with mainland China. Juxtaposing romance with diplomacy, and set against a backdrop of protest, both staged and documentary, L’Air du Temps plays like a political allegory by way of a melodrama.
Each screening will be followed by a conversation with Chen and Tiffany Sia.
Timmy Chih-Ting Chen is Research Assistant Professor at the Academy of Film, Hong Kong Baptist University. In addition to the work of Fan Ho, he is currently researching song-and-dance films and Hong Kong experimental cinema in the 1960s.
Tickets - Pay what you can ($10 suggested donation), available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm. No entry 10 minutes after start of show.
Our Fan Ho Weekend is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Print of L’Air du Temps courtesy of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.
How can we gather now? | Apparitional Experiments | Washington Project for the Arts – Washington, DC. | March 31-April 2, 2023
Washington Project for the Arts presents “How can we gather now?”, an experimental symposium directed by Asad Raza and Prem Krishnamurthy which takes place March 31-April 2. As a living dead space, Speculative Place will present a series of workshops and talks within this program as “Apparitional Experiments” with dear collaborators and friends The Centre for Land Affairs, Ed Halter, Emily Verla Bovino and Jonathan Yu.
On "Apparitional Experiments":
The term “apparitional” in the title of this proposal is partly inspired by Avery Gordon’s Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, in which Gordon uses the term “haunting” as a critical lens through which to examine aspects of social life under state oppression, violence and exploitation rendered invisible, unknowable yet undeniably present and unresolved in daily life. Further, Gordon asserts:
"I used the term haunting to describe those singular yet repetitive instances when home becomes unfamiliar, when your bearings on the world lose direction, when the over-and-done-with comes alive, when what’s been in your blind spot comes into view."
It is from the prompt of making known the concealed that we present workshops and talks to make known what is very much alive and present among a community of thinkers working across film, art and writing across alternative models in and outside of Hong Kong––and allow these connections to be drawn between communities through gathering.
~ “Even the Demons are Censored with The Centre for Land Affairs” which re-creates an exhibition that was censored in Hong Kong, summoning ghosts that could only appear in a virtual space. “The Centre for Land Affairs” will talk with Tiffany Sia using concealed identities, allowing an opportunity for others to be ventriloquists for this anonymous group.
~ “Mad Masters / Other Countdowns with Emily Verla Bovino" about encounters with the syncretic practices known as ‘Cantonese shamanism’ and ‘mediumship’ as they are practiced in Hong Kong, and their transformation into intangible cultural heritage promoted by the tourism industry.
~ “Banner-making Workshop with Jonathan Yu" — a collective banner making workshop using calligraphy components and techniques. During this event, Tiffany will facilitate a conversation with Jonathan to discuss common spaces of expression and the failures of claiming public spaces.
~ “On Independent Spaces with Ed Halter" about what it really means to run an independent space, discussing Light Industry and Speculative Place.
Join us! Details & tickets at symposium.wpadc.org
>>ABOUT (2018 – 2021)
Speculative Place was experimental, cohabitating and independent project space in Hong Kong hosting residents working on film, writing and art. We provide a place for collaboration and exchange, connecting a geographically-dispersed community of new voices.
>>NOTES ON HONG KONG
Hong Kong’s place in history is defined by a series of countdowns: Towards 1997, when the transfer of British sovereignty took place, and now towards 2047, the official end of the one country two systems policy. It is a city willed into existence by colonialism that grew from an entrepôt on the edge of the British empire, to a manufacturing hub when China was still closed to the outside world, to a cultural powerhouse exporting music and film across Asia in the 1980s and 1990s, to a financial center in the 21st century.
Images of Hong Kong in the popular Western imagination are ubiquitous, mundane and enigmatic. Travel booking websites often feature the Hong Kong skyline––a testament to a city that exists as a kind of visual shorthand for globalism–a non-place that is familiar but exotic. In America, the Hong Kong skyline often appears in Chinese takeout restaurants, as seen in large sun-bleached photographs alongside food items. In the global imaginary, Hong Kong is a mythic techno-spatial form: A speculative place that emerges somewhere between Blade Runner, flight simulations, Wong Kar-wai films, gangster movies, banking ads and video games.
SPECULATIVE PLACE is a space devoted to hosting projects and works in Hong Kong. While works are not limited in topic to Hong Kong––we provide a site for exchange and collaboration, a place to document and make new narratives and images that capture contemporary paradoxes. We invite residents to create works across disciplines among like-minded voices in our self-generated orbit.
JIMI TSANG | June - August 2021
Jimi Tsang is a photographer in Hong Kong. Tsang has participated in several group shows, including “Back Chat Boys” at Bound in Prince Edward, Kowloon in 2017. His first solo exhibition and self-published zine, "Moments in Limbo," debuted in 2019, and the publication is in Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Artists’ Book Library collection. In 2020, he participated in Hong Kong International Photo Festival’s incubation program, working with Wing Shya as a mentor, and produced “Temporal Boundary” at Parallel Space in Hong Kong. A primarily self-taught photographer, Tsang’s work explores the ongoing shifts of Hong Kong mainly through the genre of street photography. Tsang earned a Manufacturing Engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and worked as an engineer for a decade in Cleveland, Ohio. During his residency at Speculative Place, Tsang will be working on a new body of work and an upcoming zine publication.
THE CENTRE FOR LAND AFFAIRS | July - August 2021
The Centre for Land Affairs is a research group based in Hong Kong that investigates land dispossession by property developers, governments and other hegemonic entities. The heterogeneous group invites researchers and creative workers to compost (with and around) dispossession, art/greenwashing, extraction, and colonial-thinking. During their residency, The Centre for Land Affairs will focus their research on Lamma Island and simultaneously work on a body of research to be shown at Liquid Ground, opening at Para Site on 13 August 2021.
SCOTT CHAN | November 2020 - March 2021
Scott Chan is a Hong Kong artist working in ceramics, drawings and durational performances. A former skateboarder, Chan began his practice in ceramics after an accident. His work reckons with themes of death, time and the body and uses humor as a means of provocation. Chan formed a daily practice of drawing on receipts since 2013, marking the shifts in Hong Kong for the past 7 years. During his residency, Chan will be collaborating with Tiffany Sia on an upcoming publication to be released under Speculative Place Press. Chan’s work has been shown at K11, The Pottery Workshop and Gallery Z in Hong Kong. He is a graduate of RMIT with a bachelor’s degree in fine art.
KAREN CHEUNG | November 2020
Karen Cheung is a writer, editor and former news reporter in Hong Kong. She was formerly co-founding editor of indie magazine Still / Loud, and has contributed to the New York Times, New Statesman, Hunger Magazine, the Offing and others. She will be working on a nonfiction book forthcoming from Random House, a portrait of coming of age in a time of political crisis and navigating the many parallel universes in Hong Kong, her hometown.
SARAH RICH-ZENDEL, PhD | January - February 2020
Sarah Rich-Zendel is a researcher living in Calgary, Alberta. She recently completed her PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto and has begun a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at Osgoode Hall Law School (York University). Her research focuses on the relationship between gender, sexuality, and culture. Returning for another residency, Sarah will be continuing field work on an ongoing project about women who migrate to Hong Kong for domestic work.
MITCH ANZUONI | January 2020
Mitch Anzuoni is an editor, designer, and executive janitor at Inpatient Press based in New York City. Their work with Inpatient is featured in collections at the Library at the Museum of Modern Art, Asia Art Archive Hong Kong, the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music, the Mendel Music Library at Princeton University, the Blumenthal Library at the New England Conservatory, and many other fine institutions worldwide.
STEVE HOLMGREN | January 2020
Steve Holmgren is an Entertainment Attorney and Film Producer based between NY and CA (originally from MN). He specializes in independent film and television legal, providing services to projects from Development through Distribution. As a Producer, he has worked with numerous filmmakers including Adam and Zack Khalil (INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place./it flies. falls./]), Matthew Porterfield (Putty Hill; I Used to be Darker), Marie Losier (The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye), Cory McAbee (Crazy & Thief), and John Gianvito (Far From Afghanistan feat. filmmakers Travis Wilkerson, Soon-Mi Yoo, Minda Martin and Jon Jost). He is an Executive Producer on Bayley Sweitzer and Adam Khalil’s Empty Metal. He helped build the documentary arts nonprofit UnionDocs, organizing hundreds of screenings and events from 2009-2014, and is currently connected via their Advisory Committee.
Steve has served on juries at film festivals such as CPH: Pix, Oberhausen, Black Maria and the Riviera Maya Coproduction Lab. He has collaborated with film arts organizations in granting and professional development initiatives such as IFP NY, SFFilm, the Brooklyn Arts Council and CreativeCapital. He previously worked in film production with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s HDNetFilms, film sales with Cactus 3, and in institutional distribution with Gartenberg Media Enterprises. In addition to this, Steve has worked with film festivals including Tribeca, Sound Unseen and the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. He has spoken on panels and presented at workshops with organizations including the New York Film/Video Council and Visible Evidence, and with filmfestivals such as Sundance, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Berlinale. He is an alumof the Cannes Producers Network program and previously taught at Pratt Institute’s Film/Video Dept.
CAROLYN LAZARD | November - December 2019
Carolyn Lazard is a Philadelphia-based artist working across video, sound, sculpture, and performance. Lazard has screened and exhibited work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the New Museum, Camden Art Centre and Kunsthal Aarhus. They have published writing in the Brooklyn Rail, Mousse Magazine, and Triple Canopy.
While Carolyn is in residence, they will be working on a new body of work for an upcoming exhibition in London in the spring. Carolyn will also be tracking two lines of research: Racial healthcare disparities in biomedicine and alternative medicine; and historical and contemporary manifestations of materialist cinema.
ELVIA WILK | September - November 2019
Elvia Wilk is a writer and editor living in New York. She contributes to publications like Frieze, Artforum, Flash Art, Mousse, Granta, and The White Review, and is a contributing editor at e-flux journal. Her first novel, Oval, was published in 2019 by Soft Skull press. While in residence, Elvia will be working on a collection of essays surrounding ecology, mysticism, weirdness and black holes.
MING LIN | October 2019
Ming Lin sustains an interdisciplinary practice with work that seeks to address affective spaces fostered along the lines of mass production, tracing distributed networks as a means of surfacing new possibilities for cohabitation and collaborative practice. Documentary gestures and various curatorial and discursive initiatives are pursued with the aim of exploring bottom-up organization amidst the hegemony of global trade. New grammars and infrastructural experiments are frequently pursued under the helm of Display Distribute, an itinerant artistic research platform, feral distribution service, now and again exhibition space, and sometimes shop initiated in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Returning for her second residency, Ming will be preparing for upcoming forays looking into the intersections of women’s labor in the textile and technology sectors.
SARAH RICH-ZENDEL | September - October 2019
Sarah Rich-Zendel is a researcher living in Calgary, Alberta. She is completing her PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto and starting a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) in January 2020. Her research focuses on the relationship between gender, sexuality, and culture. While in residence, Sarah will be doing field work on a new project about women who migrate to Hong Kong for domestic work.
ALEX NGUYEN-VO | August 2019
Alex Nguyen-Vo is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based artist, born in Houston, Texas. He received his MFA from University of Pennsylvania in 2013, and his BFA from University of Houston in 2008. He has held solo exhibitions at Fjord in Philadelphia, Deli Gallery in New York City and Hidrante in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Alex’s work has been shown in group exhibitions in Berlin, Beverly's in New York City and Julius Ceasar Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.
While in residence, Alex will be working on a new series of paintings, and researching the history of Western modernity and the post-colonial culture of Hong Kong. The research will further inform and expand his ongoing painting-based project “Colonial Beach,” which depicts an imagined international resort and its guests on the precipice of pleasure and collapse.
LUKE CASEY | June - July 2019
Luke Casey is a filmmaker, photographer and artist based between Hong Kong and London. Luke's projects draw on aspects of surrealism and documentary, played out across a range of media and formats. Between 2015 and 2018, he ran Holy Motors, an independent, non-profit arts space located in a public display window of a motorbike mechanic shop in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. While in residence, Luke will be working on a film treatment.
HALEY JOSEPHS | February - March 2019
Haley Josephs is a Brooklyn, New York based painter born in Seattle, Washington. She received her MFA in Painting & Printmaking from Yale University in 2014, and BFA in Painting & Drawing from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 2011. She has exhibited solo shows with 315 Gallery and Deli Gallery in New York City, in Mexico City, in Los Angeles at Hilde Gallery and more. Josephs will be exploring a new body of work, based on the landscape and colors specific to Hong Kong. The work produced during the residency will be exhibited this spring in a show for Carl Kostyal in Sweden.
JOSHUA GEN SOLONDZ | January 2019
Joshua Gen Solondz is an artist working in moving image, sound, and performance. He’s screened in a variety of festivals including Images, Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Onion City, Black Maria, Portland International, Milwaukee Underground, CAAMFest, San Diego Asian Film Festival, Chicago Underground, Mar del Plata, FIC Valdivia, Viennale, and New York Film Festival’s Projections. He's has also shown at venues such as REDCAT, Light Industry, UnionDocs, Harvard Film Archive, MoMA, DINCA, NYU, Red Room, ATA, 3s, and Black Hole Cinematheque.
Solondz has received awards from Black Maria, New Orleans Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Ann Arbor Film Festival as well as commissions for shows at Heliopolis, ACRE TV, and microscope gallery. He has an ongoing collaboration with Jim Supanick as the electronic slime duo known as SynthHumpers.
Josh studied at Bard College and received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He is currently at work on his AUSPICIOUS NOSE project which will be shot during his MacDowell Fellowship in the spring of 2019. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
MING LIN | November - December 2018
Ming Lin sustains an interdisciplinary practice with work that seeks to address affective spaces fostered along the lines of mass production, tracing distributed networks as a means of surfacing new possibilities for cohabitation and collaborative practice. Documentary gestures and various curatorial and discursive initiatives are pursued with the aim of exploring bottom-up organization amidst the hegemony of global trade. New grammars and infrastructural experiments are frequently pursued under the helm of Display Distribute, an itinerant artistic research platform, feral distribution service, now and again exhibition space, and sometimes shop initiated in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Project details: TITLE TBD
This body of research considers landscapes and architectures of supply and demand, the politics of production and the mytho-poetic narratives running through the network of global logistics. Taking its starting point from a specific industry lore—which attributes fast fashion chain ZARA’s inimitable success to alleged factories on water—a leg of research pursued in the Pearl River Delta explores the apparently seamless spaces of the supply chain, centering in particular around a “second geography” of ad hoc labor emerging in areas overlooked by more technologically advanced industrial infrastructures. The project gathers insight into this shifting network of production, particularly in terms of feminized labor in the Pearl River Delta—a territory defined in moments of self-organized 'coalition' among a web of disparate partnerships. Destabilizing conventional narratives of global distribution as smooth, technologically advanced, and 'just-in-time', this work seeks to contribute instead to a postcolonial discourse through the articulation of vast networks as subjective, queer, and rife with friction.
ALYSSE KUSHINSKI | December 2018
Alysse is PhD candidate and Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) fellow in the department of Communication and Culture at York University, Canada. Her current research focuses on the politics and aesthetics of "leaking". Generally, her work sits at the intersection of critical theory, aesthetics, and visual and material culture.
Project details: Information and Financial Flows: Building Leakiness in Hong Kong
While in residence, Alysse researched how Hong Kong exists as “in-between” space in the Western imaginary. Her project examines how port cities, like Hong Kong, are often utilized as “leaky nodes” in global circulations. Alysse undertook this work while in the region in order to better understand the “real and imaginary coordinates that produce ‘Hong Kong’” (Erni 2001 ) – she focused on how the “place” of Hong Kong is imagined through, and undone by, its leakiness.
ANDREW MERRILL | December 2018
Andrew Merrill is a visual artist and PhD candidate in Human Geography at the University of Toronto. His academic work focuses on the intersections of the virtual and material, the technological and the biological, networks and space. His artistic practice focuses on material culture, circulations, representation and place. Both practices follow questions of systems and networks across scale, from their global structuring to their interpersonal and discursive implementations. His current research focuses on the relationships between military technology and the body of the soldier, and the geography of its production.
Project details: Sovereignty, Territory, Population: Global Circulations and State Power in Hong Kong
Andrew, during his residency, researched how Hong Kong exists today and historically as a unique node of legal, political, economic and human circulations. While Foucault so duly outlined the relationship between circulations, territory and the notion of security, he draws on work from Aihwa Ong and Ananya Roy to think through how Hong Kong engages in active project of producing sovereignty and its relation to territorial claims and human circulations. Through both traditional social science and practice-based research methods, this work looks at key events in Hong Kong’s production of territory, sovereignty, and population. This work seeks to understand how these moments, when viewed together, can illuminate how economic and human circulations, as well as legal networks, operate through the law, political economy, and representation. In so doing, he explores how the imaginaries and materialities of Hong Kong emerge from particular spatial technologies and conjunctures.
NEL YANG | August 2018
Nel Yang is a PhD researcher and anthropologist based in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, they received their BA from Wesleyan University and their MA from the University of Texas at Austin. Their research interests include data, desire, and the erotics of money and nationalism. Experimental ethnography, creative nonfiction and short freeform poetry are amongst their primary forms of writing practice.
info (at) speculativeplace (dot) com