The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Tzuan Wu Day

 

‘Tzu-An Wu makes experimental films. For him, so-called “experimental” is not a genre, but a changeable, nomadic status crossing the machineries inside out. He likes to manipulate heterogeneous images, sounds, and texts, to question the construction of the narrative and the selfhood. In recent years he works mainly with Super 8 and 16mm film techniques, while he is also interested in the intersection of both analog and digital techniques of visual reproduction. …

‘Growing under the glittery shadows of the avant-garde cinema, his works collage different kinds of images and texts, aiming to create a circular way of self-communication, production, and reproduction. Although the textures and forms of these works change, they share similar concerns about the fluid, uncertain essence of selfhood and identities. For example, the early work We Can’t Grow Up Together is a lyrical and mad demonstration on how the self changed; Disease of Manifestation discusses the narrative construction of the selves. QUOUSQUE EADEM? (OR A SELF-PORTRAIT) is a self-portrait to see the image-making machinery as the metaphor of the selves. All of these works share the same theme: how to know thyself? How can it be possible? ”

‘These ideas and emotions on the selfhood were preserved, but also annihilated when a work is finished. If the cinema is a form of preserving time and body, (According to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, cinema means “ghosts are watching ghosts.”) when screening the works, the memories and the ghosts of the past are summoned, on and off the screen…

“In much of my previous work I used, among others, my own travelogue and diary film footage. Most of these were filmed by chance without purpose. I treated them as found-footage. By taking those images out of their original context. I obtained a set of visual objects that I could freely manipulate with some cinematic techniques.

“For the more recent works … , however, I handled the collected images in a different way. In particular, I chose as filming subjects some of the places near my residency that I had been frequenting. Within these subjects themselves I sought possible textures and rhythms to emerge. They meant to be produced as simple “signs”, as I was told by my former teacher video artist Paul Ryan, “Signs represent something for somebody in some respect”.

“I handled these “signs” with different “process”, This body of work can be seen both as a collection of independent pieces as well as a constellation that marks my everyday life in the residency. In the future, they will quite possibly evolve into another progress that in turn will feed into another project.” — Tzuan Wu

‘He holds a BA in Gender and Cultural Studies from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, and an MA in Media Studies from The New School, New York. His works have been shown internationally, including BFI Flare (London), International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherland), CROSSROADS (San Francisco), Xposed International Queer Film Festival(Berlin), Golden Harvest Film Festival (Taiwan), MixNYC (New York), He was awarded the jury prize at Festival of Different and Experimental Cinema (Paris). He is also a member of the cinema collective The Other Cinema and the co-founder of countercultural zine group 後母雜誌 Post-Motherism.’ — collaged

 

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Stills














































 

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Further

Tzuan Wu Website
Tzuan Wu @ Vimeo
Tzuan Wu @ Facebook
Tzuan Wu @ mixcloud
Tzuan Wu @ Medium
Tzuan Wu @ MUBI

 

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Extras


failed processing


Tulips


l’abjection

 

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13 of Tzuan Wu’s 17 films

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A Girl’s Prayer (1978-2016)
‘Many years after graduation. Some one left earlier while the party goes on. We made a day to visit the green lake together. In that burning afternoon. These fragments of over-exposed, out of focus film were produced without a purpose. Then seamed together by chance. All of these probably are merely a reminder of our rights of indulgence; These are things you should commemorate, these are your memento mori. Thousand layers of Absolute Terror Field. In the center the princess is still praying for maintaining the world. Covered by magic circles, under the urban plan construct with an inverted pyramid shape. She prays in a basement that no one could reach.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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Stargazing (2017)
‘After WU’s arrival at New Zealand, WU has been trying to take a photo of the starry night sky everyday with his phone, whether or not it was clear. The star photos can be interpreted as diaries. Using 16mm Bolex camera to film the stars frame by frame with long exposure. Exposure time was determined by mind. These uneven pulsations of lights corresponds to the starlight changing along with the thoughts were at mind. This film documents WU’s everyday ritual of star-gazing with the related associations and inspirations, and forms a meditative process.’ — TW


Trailer

 

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Audio/Video Letter (2016)
‘Audio/Video Letter between musician Amund Ulvestad and filmmaker Tzuan Wu.’


the entire film

 

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Proxy of Heaven (2015)
‘Documenting, exploring and collage the touristic images of different religious spaces, in Czech, France, and Taiwan. Passing through these passages of the holy experience, witnessing the “memento mori” and the desire of happiness brings us back to the mundane human world.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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伊人 Yi-Ren (the person of whom I think) (2015)
‘Yi-Ren (can be vaguely translated to “the person of whom I think”) is a collaged love letter made of various sources. Such as my super8 mm diaries, karaoke videos, and found-footage from Kang-Chien Chiu (1940-2013)’s films, and poems. It is also an act of homage and a queer reading of Chiu. Reassemble, manipulate the materials, and melt the ready-made and the personal into one. Or, maybe the personal emotions and experiences are actually all borrowed from someone and somewhere… As the line “my moans have a bit of Hollywood in them” suggests, our emotions would not exist without acting, or movies we have seen.

‘This double channel employed the duality of the forms, the images, and the media. They are played in counterpoints, and presented as a metaphor of the mechanism of our emotions. Like the generation loss came from transfer between digital and analogue film. The materials were handled as the ready-made affection. The flowers bloom and wither, the hands caress or grab the air, people pass through and the faces vanishes… Through reproducing and manipulating the lines and images, it generates a floating narrative, a murmur between the subject of lost and the object of desire.’ — TW


Excerpt

 

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World’s Odds and World’s Ends (2014)
‘An experimental ethnography of tourists. Documenting the touristic activities in the medieval town Cesky Krumlov of Czech Republic. Using time-lapse photography to capture the repetition of the paths, the action, and the faces. The alchemy is the metaphor of their psychodynamic, and their doomed quest of the freedom in the odds and ends, at the end of the world.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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Quousque eadem? (or a self-portrait) (2013)
‘When one is holding a camera, it means changes of the way of seeing, distortion of the perception. It’s an opaque state of intermediacy. The image made in this way is also non-transparent as is, changeable but repeating, just as the perception to everyday-lives and to the selves, is hard to determine and trap in the stalemate.

‘This work started as a personal project, a one-man home video, which represents to the certain stage of my life and it was produced only for my own. While started working on it again, I changed the initial goal. Reassemble with narration, HD images and digitalized Super 8mm footages, to transform the (pseudo-) video diaries to a video essay about my reflections on the interrelationship between vision, memory, and the process of image (re-) production.

‘The title “QUOUSQUE EADEM?” comes from the same-name essay in the book “Precis de decomposition” of E. M. Cioran. Which means “How much longer (must we endure) the same things?” I have no mean to reiterate the hatred and helplessness of the essay, however I think the sense of the repetitiveness in the impermanence is suitable to this work.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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Disease of Manifestation 宣(言)癖 (2011)
‘This work is an argument initiated with Wendy Brown’s article Resisting Left Melancholy. She applied Walter Benjamin’s notion of “Left Melancholia” to see the political thoughts and the norms in the left-wing movement/ theory traditions as the notion of melancholia. There is the thingness of the thoughts that can see as the lost object. Extends this idea, the thingness of thoughts, come from one’s personal or collective memories could become the pathological fixation.

‘The passionate political manifestos or the small scale manifestos/ manifestations in our everyday lives, can be consider as the compulsory desire to maintain, to repeat, and to reproduce the manifestos, aiming to achieve an unachievable substance. Melancholia in the Freudian context is defined as the subject tries to maintain the lost object even more then the subject itself, and this causes the notion of disorder. The act of manifestation is to rupture with the present world and the compulsion to change it. Here comes the paradox between outward-looking and inward-looking perspectives of the notion of revolution, which is the initiation of this project, manifestations as the infectious psychosis.

‘This work was composed in a pseudo-automatic writing manner, collaged with the fragments of various forms and contents, of images and words. I trim them with juxtaposition, bad translation, and misreading the different visual, audio or textual references in a machinery speaking… forming the work with heterogeneous qualities with in. The work builds itself towards the anarchistic conditions of the inner scenes, can also be seem as a wrong-manifesto.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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Lip-sync (2012)
‘Starts with the act of the actor translates a recording of a reading of an intimate letter, instantly and repeatedly, while the super 8mm film projected on his face. I try to mixed the actual process of (mis)translation with nostalgic images into a heterogenic impurity, through focus on the materiality and performativity of the images, and the alchemic manner of manipulation of the images. ToUse language as the medium and images as the language to present the in-between-ness of one’s conflicting inner scenery.

‘The video aims to discuss the relationships between outward and inward narratives, and to demonstrate the in-between condition of one’s inner scene, in the space between translation, memory and forgetfulness, and the process of identification. In between the introjection act of the narratives from the outside world, and the projection act of speech and expression keep re-defining the edges of one’s self; In where emotions grow and vanish.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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The Pineapple of A Very, Very Serious Lady (2010)
‘”I believe that a pineapple is the parody of an apple.” A Drag queen wants to be pregnant and this causes an unbelievable tragedy. With demonstrating the notion of schizophrenia, this work aims to re-imagine the boundaries between identities and languages, and the impossibility of being “as a whole”.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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A Comma (2010)
“In the sentence of time, people appears like continuous commas. But you define yourself as a period, aiming for interrupt the sentence.” — E.M. Cioran


the entire film

 

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We Can’t Grow Up Together (2010)
‘Freaks also grow up from little as well. But the things we had lost in time differ. That’s the reason why we can’t grow up together. The film was shot in 16mm, based on a childhood (false) memory, transformed with fantasies and symbolic objects, and performed in a public environment. The elements in the film are both the markers of emotion and time, with montage, the outside world and inner scenery came across to each other.

‘Some events seem to be not important at the moment might became a crucial milestone in a personal sense. Through retelling and rewriting the memory, the pointless emotions turns to the flowing memory, and being able to preserved.’ — TW


the entire film

 

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Talking Cure (人生相談) (2008)
‘Dedicated to the trinity of Lady Larzarus, Ayanami Rei, and Britney Spears. One day I will take you to the exorcist.’ — TW


the entire film

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** HaveANiceLife, Hi. I knew about ‘Frank Wolf’, but I didn’t recognise him from that photo. Incredibly sad. That’s not the first time I’ve seen his photos coopted by escorts and slaves. Thanks for letting me know. ** David Ehrenstein, Thank you for the adds. That Nagisa Oshima thing is nuts, I hadn’t seen it before. ** Steve Erickson, Hey. Interesting: your gun related explorations, thank you. Fingers crossed re: your editor. Man, you do have a busy day. Hope it flew by with all parts intact. ** _Black_Acrylic, Ho, Ben. That ink seems like an exciting storehouse. Excited to see what it allows you to do. ** Jamie, Thank you, bud. I wish Niki de Saint Phalle’s work in general was more in that vein, but … well, you’ve seen if you googled her. I’m good. I did inch into the script. Need to pick up the pace today. And yes, had a great visit with Kier and his pal Ottar. They’re here for two weeks so much fun is in the offing. Nothing scary at all? Eerie, surely. But, hey, an unscary horror movie sounds good to me. I think that genre is a lot more unexpectedly exploitable the people give it credit for. Follow your nose, man. Surprise … yesterday … hm. I was surprised that I was looking around on Facebook and someone posted a video of that awful 80s band Europe performing ‘The Final Countdown’ just the other day somewhere and that I was in some kind of weird mood where I thought it would be interesting to learn what it felt like to watch old versions of them perform a song that they’ve undoubtedly performed 80,000 times at this point and that I did watch a good minute or so with only the mildest interest — they look like middle-aged men with really dated haircuts and successfully acted like they cared about the song’s effect — but I was not surprised to find that horrible song consequently stuck in my head for hours. My Wednesday needs to be consumed by script work, and I will try. Ha ha, when I was much younger, I was briefly famous among my friends as someone who could cook up an apparently delicious carrot cake. No frosting. I think you’re probably right about Ryan Gosling and I was surprised recently to decide via a TV interview that Ethan Hawke seems like a nice guy even though his acting makes my teeth grind love, Dennis. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Yeah, like I said up above, I know the very sad ‘Frank Wolf’ story but I didn’t recognise him in that photo. If I had, I don’t think I would have used that profile. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten popcorn at a movie, weird. Back when I occasionally ate during movies, it was always Milk Duds. Do they still exist? Guns and Halloween are like Campbells Soup and 7/10 egg salad sandwiches. Bon day! ** Right. I’m focusing your attention today on the films of the wonderful and not anywhere near as well known as he should be Tzuan Wu. Should you choose to investigate the post, you will have experiences of a valuable and resonating nature. Thank you. See you tomorrow.

9 Comments

  1. _Black_Acrylic

    You ever heard this? Europe – The Final Countdown WORST COVER EVER

  2. David Ehrenstein

    Woo, Woo, Wu!

    The Oshima clip is from “Three Resurrected Drunkards” — one of the three films he made in 1968. Like so many Oshima films it’s about Japanese anti-Korean prejudice. It’s based on a true story about a trio of students who play hooky to go swimming only to discover that their clothes have been stolen and outfits commonly word by Koreans have been left in their place. As a result they’re hounded by other Japanese for supposedly being Korean. The stars of the film were a pop group called “The Folk Crusaders” so the film is kind of what “A Hard Day’s Night” would have been like had Godard directed it.

  3. alex rose

    hi dennis maawaah ( that was kiss )

    uugh, i don’t know who tzuan is, i have it stared

    there’s just so much these days, you know ? after work i sent two emails and comment on youtube and that took me two hours, im either severely mentally retarded or my brain has shut the door and walked away with the key, both are similar analogues i know or do i ? ive so much to read and watch i cant find the time, and then when im really bored i dream of maybe adopting a teen, a cross eyed kpop influencer, ooh, the delirious boredom

    it was sad to see frank wolf there with the holewhores, ive a file on him for years, tons of videos and photographs but i’ve no idea what to do, im way beyond sad masturbation

    and in your gun post, i had that felix gonzalez poster in my bedroom in limerick for years, it was fingery the way you brought that memory back

    no other news dennis, have you seen MANDY yet ?

    il never ask again as i refuse to be your mandy man, haha, your cagerage bitch

    love you dennis, your irish chimney sweeper, x

  4. Steve Erickson

    There was an ad featuring “The Final Countdown” that the Regal theater chain used to show incessantly just before the previews began. I don’t even remember what it was for, except that the song’s use was supposed to be ironic and amusing.

    My super-busy day is actually tomorrow, and it got easier because my interview with Joseph Kahn got pushed back to 5:45 PM from the original mid-afternoon time. I should have most of the afternoon to work on my BOY ERASED review.

  5. Keatun

    boom! pow! bang! hey hey hey. where the hoes at? hey D. how are you? ive been enjoying the Halloween posts. quit my job, got in a bar fight with some guys and some chairs, left the beach. living in the Everglades with the Seminoles. tried gator-wrestling for a while but decided it was too dangerous. hopefully moving very soon. some cool stuff out here, lots of strange critters, a “Skunk Ape” town, Florida’s Big Foot, towns and 100s of skeletons underwater from an old Hurricane, sexy Indian cowboys. reminds me, have you read Rimbaud in Abssynia? really cool read. been reading tons of ghost stories and listening to the new AIC. been sober of everything for a few months. only caffeine. i grew up shooting. machine-guns lying around the house. Murica, i hope to take up target shooting again soon or maybe just in my old timer times. never really thought of how guns work until i had seen a few things shot, i guess they “put you through” much like a sword. love some of these works, really great. some interesting and rare guns of note… Le Mat revolver of the Civil War/New Orleans, over/under guns in general, the .45/.410 pistols, double-barrel rifles, Lee’s Navy (never fired during the war), Custer’s Webley, given to him by a Lord, one of the first double-actions to see action. hope you are all good. Halloween post coming soon xoxo

  6. Jamie

    Howdy Dennis! Does howdy come from how do you do? It must.
    How are you?
    Big lol at your Final Countdown internet trawl. As someone who played for a while in a band that had ‘hits’ (after a fashion) I know I’m not a guy who can keep playing a certain song in an emphatic fashion. I find the ability to do so maybe not admirable, but interesting certainly.
    Carrot cake sans frosting? Is the frosting not the best bit? I always leave mine to the end. For some reason the idea of you baking tickles me. You ever do it still?
    I’m off to Brussels in the morning! To celebrate Hannah’s dad’s 60th, look at apartments (eek) and visit an institute where I’m possibly going to do a film-making course. Quite exciting, but I’ve been working this evening and am feeling tense about last minute prep.
    Did you get on with that script? How’s it feeling?
    As for Tzuan Wu, I’ve only had time to watch snatches, but I very much liked what I saw and will be coming back to this post in less time-pressed moments. Thanks for the intro.
    I may not be here over the weekend, but I’ll sure as shit be back Sunday night.
    May your next few days be like days designed by a race of super intelligent alien mice whose sole purpose is to make humans say wow.
    I might have watched Ethan Hawke in that film The Purge last week though I haven’t yet Googled to find out if it was him but if it was he was okay although the film was not great love,
    Jamie

  7. _Black_Acrylic

    Tzuan Wu sure is a one of a kind, standing alone in his own amalgamate reality. I’m very into the nightmare vision of Talking Cure.

    I’ve set a date of 1st November to see someone at the DCA print workshop about the possibilities of glittery screenprint ink. I want a feeling of excess in the surface, thinking about fashion and James Lee Byars without having anything too specific lined up just yet.

  8. HaveANiceLife

    No probs, dudeo. I only brought it up, cause–as I said–I know some pretty close friends of his, and got to experience the heartbreak secondhand when all that stuff went down.

    Actually, for a second I assumed the profile might’ve been him, until I saw the recent date on the comments. From the little I spoke to him, Frank was a lovely but very obviously super lonely kid, and he *did* do sex work in regards to camming/porn. Would’ve been a weird way to find that out.

    Y’know, despite being Tawainese, the screenshots here make Wu’s work look v. distinctly Japanese. Lots of Toshio Matsumoto, or a little Shuji Terayama type vibes. Wonder what that means (a really cool weeaboo?).
    Tho, I can’t watch the videos atm, which might destroy that impression completely.

  9. Misanthrope

    Dennis, This is trivial but Wu is a great last name. Trippy stuff. Experimental indeed.

    Ethan Hawke! I was a mere couple feet away from him after your “An Evening With…” in NYC. From what I could overhear, he sounded like a nice guy.

    Yes, the Frank Wolf story is sad. I’m glad others from that time period are still around. I only heard about him when I “discovered” Chris Dakota. Chris still has a tumblr and instagram. He’s a pretty funny dude. Reminds me a bit of a modern Morrissey, for some reason. Well, at least his views on things and his humor.

    Yes, Milk Duds are still around! I guess the oil they pop the popcorn with is enough for me, so I always eschew the chemical “butter.” Back in the day, I’d get a box of Raisinets -they’re still around, too- and dump it into my popcorn. The sweet and the salty together. ‘Twas heaven. Popcorn is enough for me nowadays.

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