susan pui san lok, RoCH Trilogies (3-screen installation) and RoCH Fan (concertina multiple), both 2015, QUAD installation views
RoCH Fans & Legends is A body of work commissioned by QUAD, Derby, and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CfCCA), Manchester, in partnership with Animate Projects and the University of Salford. Premiered at QUAD in autumn 2015, RoCH Fans & Legends toured to CFCCA in June 2016 as part of their 30th anniversary programme. Screenings of Trailers include Art Basel HK, 24-26 March 2016, and the 62nd Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, 5-10 May 2016.
RoCH Fans & Legends draws on the prolific film and television adaptations of The Condor Trilogy (1957-61), a classic ‘new wuxia’ epic by Louis Cha (Cha Leung-yung / Zha Liangyong) aka Jin Yong. The wider project sets out to explore the genre’s recurring tropes and translations in diaspora – its fantasies, landscapes, and archetypes, as well as its ‘poor images‘ and ‘pidgin translations’; ‘RoCH’ is both a reference to the popular shorthand for Return of the Condor Heroes (the second novel in the trilogy), and to the shifting aesthetics of its many spectacular repetitions and ‘returns’. From film and television to anime and comic books, the trilogy’s numerous re-versions reflect evolutions in medium and materiality in tandem with (re)production technologies and distribution platforms. They also attest to its enduring appeal, with multiple productions and co-productions from Hong Kong and mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore since the late fifties (some 40 to date), as well as innumerable fan-generated dubs and subtitles, fan-fiction extensions and fan-translations into English.
Changing modes and networks of distribution and spectatorship, from bootleg videos tapes to digital formats and online streaming media, enable myriad linguistic and cultural encounters with wuxia. Alluding to questions of authenticity, fantasy, consumption and translation, RoCH Fans & Legends aims to engage some of the languages and spaces between the ‘authorised’ and the ‘amateur’, the ‘licensed’ and ‘unlicensed’, and the ongoing re/de/generations of wuxia fans and legends.
RoCH Fans & Legends (Entries) 2013, inkjet prints, various lengths
RoCH Fans & Legends (Variations) 2013, Photoshopped screenshots
Drawings 2014, colour pencil on paper
Covers I and II 2015, single-channel, animated drawings, 3′ and 5′ [WATCH]
Trailers 2015, single-channel moving image work, 4′ [WATCH]
Trilogies 2015, 3-screen moving image installation, 65′
RoCH Fan 2015, concertina multiple, edition of 200, 8415mm x 102mm x 187mm, custom vitrine
QUAD 19 September – 15 November 2015
Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester 3 June – 3 July 2016
Trailers 2015, single-channel moving image work, 4′, Videotage / Art Basel HK, 24-26 March 2016
Trailers 2015, single-channel moving image work, 4′, 62nd Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, 5-10 May 2016
Trilogies LIVE 2016, single-channel version with live sound collaborations, approx 120′, HOME Cinema, Manchester, 16 June 2016
The Global Archive Hanmi Gallery, London, 23 January – 9 February 2013
Above: RoCH Fans & Legends (2013, work in progress), Hanmi Gallery installation views. Images (c) the artist
A series of prints (scrolls of Google image search results) signal the specific and generic iconography of The Condor Trilogy, and its uneven, overlapping visual-linguistic circuits of transmission; a VCD of the popular 1983 Hong Kong TV version of Return of the Condor Heroes plays in the space, with Mandarin and Cantonese dubs simultaneously audible; a circle of paper condors/eagles/vultures further kitschifies an already-kitsch cultural symbol; while its multiples invoke translation as a folding process, systematic yet without sameness.
/ Shen2 Diao1 Xia2 Lu3 / San4 Diu1 Haap6 Leoi5 / San Diu Hap Lui / Sun Diu Hap Lui / Sin Tiauw Hiap Lui / Shin Chou Kyou Ryo / Shin Cho Kyo Ryo: Kondoru Hiro / Than Dieu Hiep Lu / Kembalinya Sang Pendakar Rajawali / Divine Eagle, Gallant Knight / The Legendary Couple / Return of The Condor Heroes / Romance of the Condor Heroes /