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Simon Liu, Happy Valley (Still), 2020, 13 min, 16mm to HD. Image courtesy of the artist.

Simon Liu, Happy Valley (Still), 2020, 13 min, 16mm to HD. Image courtesy of the artist.

SCREEN: Simon Liu

Screening Virtual

Throughout the month, MOCA’s online platform for experimental film and video art will highlight the work of Simon Liu. Simon Liu is a filmmaker born in Hong Kong and currently based in Brooklyn. His moving image works take various forms, including abstract documentaries, experimental diaries, and multichannel video installations. Liu’s diverse oeuvre is a psychogeographic archive of his birthplace, Hong Kong, as it undergoes rapid historical changes. Over the course of the month, moca.org/screen will present two films: Signal 8 (2019) and Happy Valley (2020). Signal 8 catalogs scenes of everyday life, building a sensuous portrait of contemporary Hong Kong. Through a series of hypnotic fragments, the film reveals a sense of dissonance within the fabric of civic life. Produced one year later, Happy Valley montages the ebb and flow of commerce and activity in Hong Kong with remnants of resistance, suggesting the aftermath of an upheaval taking place outside of the frame.

Signal 8
2019, 14 min, 16mm to HD
They said a storm is calling this way but we’re still waiting. Lives carry on in Hong Kong as traces of civic upkeep morph into sites of remembrance. Decorative structures mimic nature then occasionally malfunction - transforming common spectacle to warning signs. The light urges to tell us something but can't quite get its point across, patience tested for another day.
— Simon Liu

Happy Valley
2020, 13 min, 16mm to HD

British Colonial-era structures overlook scenes in the aftermath of civil unrest as Hong Kongers work to retain some semblance of normality. The sound of petty arguments from local TVB soap-operas of the 80s are put in concert with captive animals, political graffiti and desolate highways. Suspension cables and ship anchor lines reveal a fragile urban anatomy; the structures that keep the city moving along. When civic functions grind to a halt, the limits of our empathy and control come into question. As the days teeter toward an uncertain future, Happy Valley cinematically probes the role of the so-called “little things”. A rendering of the perseverance of spirit in Hong Kong - an attempt at irony that can’t help but be emotional.
— Simon Liu

Watch all films on moca.org/screen.

About the Artist:
Simon Liu (b. 1987, Hong Kong) is a film artist seeking to build a lyrical catalogue of the rapidly evolving psychogeography of his place of origin in Hong Kong through alternative documentary forms, abstract diary films, multi-channel video installations and 16mm projection performances. Liu’s work has been presented at film festivals and institutions globally including the Sundance Film Festival, NYFF, TIFF, IFFR, New Directors/New Films, British Film Institute, The Shed, M+ Museum, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Cinéma du Réel, “Dreamlands: Expanded” with the Whitney Museum and Microscope Gallery, and an upcoming solo-program at the Museum of Modern Art as part of their Modern Mondays series. Several of Liu's films and expanded cinema performances are also in the Permanent Collections of M+ and MoMA. He is a 2019 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, a teacher at the Cooper Union School of Art, and a member of Negativeland; an artist-run film lab in Brooklyn. Liu is currently editing his first feature film, Staffordshire Hoard.

SCREEN: Simon Liu is organized by Troyese Robinson.