March 15, 2021 - Artist Cinemas - Crashing into the Future: Week #4
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March 15, 2021

Artist Cinemas

Yong Xiang Li, I’m Not in Love (How to Feed on Humans) (clip), 2020.

Crashing into the Future: Week #4
Yong Xiang Li, I’m Not in Love (How to Feed on Humans), 2020

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Join us on e-flux Video & Film for the online screening of Yong Xiang Li’s I’m Not in Love (How to Feed on Humans) (2020), the fourth installment of Crashing into the Future, on view from Monday, March 15 through Sunday, March 21, 2021 and featuring an interview with the filmmaker conducted by Alvin Li.

Crashing into the Future is a six-part program of films and interviews put together by Cao Fei. It is the fifth cycle of Artist Cinemas, a long-term, online series of film programs curated by artists for e-flux Video & Film

Artist Cinemas presents Crashing into the Future  
Week #4: Monday, March 15–Sunday, March 21, 2021  
Yong Xiang Li, I’m Not in Love (How to Feed on Humans), 2020
27 minutes

I’m Not in Love restores the tired motif of the vampire, injecting it with a sense of queer warmth. In this freakish and playful combination of narrative film and music video, a 386-year-old Asian vampire—Vampy—struts about town tending to his three lovers, or symbionts. Apparently, his venom is not venomous at all, but instead grants pleasure and long life. (Alvin Li)

Excerpt from Yong Xiang Li in conversation with Alvin Li

Alvin Li (AL): 
Reflecting on the themes of this screening program and what you said about your protagonists being bound by need and care in the absence of transcendental love, I want to suggest, and correct me if I’m wrong, that there is in fact nothing post-human about the kind of monstrosity constructed in your film. Or perhaps, it is a matter of it being more-than-human: monstrosity as a sort of evolutionary satisficing already inherent in interspecies relationships in nature.

Yong Xiang Li (YXL): 
If by “post-human” you mean an intellectual or cultural trend that flattens the discussion of sex and race for the sake of prolonging an epistemology of stable ontology for humans and objects, then you’re not wrong—this does not interest me at all. In fact, I’m very suspicious of that kind of thinking and the politics of its world-narration. Thinking through monstrosity in terms of, as you said, “more-than-human” is quite apt, since such a method perhaps also undoes the duality of culture vs. nature. I guess examining various cultural processes of producing racial or sexual monstrosity reveals the cracks in our naturalized definitions of humanity, and therefore exposes the fictionality of such constructions. The actuality of interspecies interdependence therefore enters through those cracks.

AL: 
All the characters in the film are played by your friends at Städelschule, as well as yourself. Do any of you have acting experience? Did you give them specific instructions? The sort of “bad” acting seems quite deliberate...

YXL: 
Friends’ participation seems to me very much aligned with the tradition of low-budget production to which this film undoubtedly belongs, so this decision came naturally. But luckily, I am surrounded by talent in Frankfurt. I think apart from Johanna—the biker in the film—who has stage experience through her musical persona Iku, no one else had prior acting experience. However, the filming process was not just a dilettante’s farce. The acting was indeed loosely directed by me, and slowly figured out together with the actors and the cinematographer as we went along. We obviously had a lot of laughs in the process, as evident in the outcome. The bad acting you perceived was by no means a calculated irony, but part and parcel of this type of careful amateurism.

Watch the film and read the full conversation here.

About the program   
Various signs around us suggest that we have reached a moment where the contradictions accumulated by our history can no longer be sustained. A sense of déjà vu takes hold. Once again, the uneasy organisms of this planet look up and gaze at the cosmos as they hastily crash into the future...

Crashing into the Future brings together a selection of six works by video artists from China born in the late 1980s and 1990s. Most of the featured artists studied or lived abroad for some time, and their artistic practices reflect their diverse influences. The works are presented under three thematic junctions—Monstrosity, Ghost Worker, and Cosmos in Flux—that, together, constitute a kind of rhizome wherein meaning is produced in the space between the nodes. 

Crashing into the Future is a program convened by Cao Fei as part of the series Artist Cinemas. It will run for six weeks from February 22 through April 5, 2021, screening a new film each week accompanied by an interview with the filmmaker(s) conducted by Cao Fei and invited guests.

About Artist Cinemas    
Artist Cinemas is a new e-flux platform focusing on exploring the moving image as understood by people who make film. It is informed by the vulnerability and enchantment of the artistic process—producing non-linear forms of knowledge and expertise that exist outside of academic or institutional frameworks. It will also acknowledge the circles of friendship and mutual inspiration that bind the artistic community. Over time this platform will trace new contours and produce different understandings of the moving image.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

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