Hong Kong / the opening of space and fixed-frame film
As Hong Kong continues through a period in which the future is enforced as a stable and enclosed realm of action, fixed-frame film, as a practice of the city, attends to the contingent present. It calls forth an attunement toward the uncertainty of becoming: where doubt and questioning are necessary qualities of a future still held close as potential.
Film moves images through time to figure space. In films of cities, this moving of images can function as a series of quick cuts or else at speeds that create a sinuous continuity. Both ways of figuring the city–as staccato or never-ceasing–obscure the image itself, allowing the operative sensibility to take hold. I am thinking, for example, of Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance (1982) or of Jessica Kingdon’s more recent observations of contemporary China in Ascension (2021). These films solicit a way of looking that depend less on an attuned gaze, than on an awestruckedness that renders the image itself undemanding.