One Narrow and Flimsy Grasp (2020)


23min / Colour / Digital / United Kingdom / 2020


One Narrow and Flimsy Grasp is a short film discussing a mother’s compulsory connection with the cisnormative roles of motherhood, being a housewife, and caring labour within the domestic sphere. It investigates family relations, shared attitudes and intricacies, as well as the power relations, individual struggles, and conflicts of interest these roles create. It signifies an antagonistic disposition towards the universal womanness positioned by this cis-heteropatriarchal regime. It is a documentary that twirls around the social becoming, representing the commencement of auteur’s journey approaching a practical kinship.

The aesthetic subject of an artwork is no longer the main forms/objects of inquiry; rather, the work of art is now seen as a multi-faceted artistic activity (disregarding for the moment the circulation of commodities(i.e. artworks) and the fact that artists are already merchants), which its presence is seen as a symptom of a certain social message, interpreted in order to understand the relevance of the past, present and future. In the age of simulacrum, before the appearance of COVID-19, the condition of the art has already revolved around its relation to mechanised production, advanced technology, and simulated reality. The accessibility and mobility of digitalised artworks presentation and/or any forms of digital/media art has demonstrated their plausibilities for broader and more comprehensive engagements and linkages with audiences (assuming artists are willing to release free contents) and social phenomena. Insofar as I perceive these modes of production and reproduction as manners of leading to equal aesthetic rights (here, also, putting aside the arguments around the autonomy and supplement purpose of art concerning emancipatory politics), I approach to copylefting and digitalising all the works and materials within the pieces, also, they are my initial means of creation (e.g. video-performances, photographs, copyleft websites, etc.). There is one little thing that can be complained about, of course, that the presentation needs to compromise with different technical devices different people possess, from mobile phones to projectors, Liquid-crystal display to mini-LED, and so forth. The viewer is, therefore, freed from the installation setting within the exhibition space, although experiences derived differently from the cinema, the gallery wall or the computer screen at home.

The atmosphere of intense and infectious insecurity, agitation, and disinformation did overwhelm me, yet, I was nonetheless forced to be productive to apply for a PhD in an effort to stay in the UK longer (fortunately, I received a conditional offer). I went back to Hong Kong and Quanzhou for the vacation at the beginning of this year, and I have not seen my mother, who lives in Quanzhou, in over a year. Every time we met, she would complain to me about the toxic father, yet she always continued to perform the caring labour after that. I told my parents nothing, and I am terrified of doing so, whether I identify as genderqueer or anything about my writings, activities, artworks. They, with no desire to understand those, think they will support me as long as I can make money from my art in the future. Notwithstanding, what chance can I have of adulating curators to get exhibition opportunities for someone like me who actually hates faux social connection, who abhors jobs but loves knowledge sharing and universal basic income, and who can only be social trash? Even when I was applying for a PhD in cultural studies or gender studies, they did not know what they were, and they just thought it would be impressive that if I could get a PhD while they did not even have a primary school education themselves. For me, however, I do not consider that people with higher education are greater than those who do not have one. I care about everything regarding my mother, I love her, but I do not know what I can do, I require my father’s money to pursue my research to produce work to live in London, I despise myself, and I want to change. Hence I grabbed my camera and documented that the only week I lived with my mother, she did the household chores and cleaned four floors of the house everyday, as she had done for more than 20 years, and then went out to take care of my grandmother’s restaurant, and she and I went to the park near the house for the first time since I had been living outside for so many years, seeking the chance to tell her what I am really like and what I am doing. Still, I did not say anything.