April Lin 林森
(Tending) (to) (Ta)
3 Jul — 4 Sep 2021
3 Jul — 4 Sep 2021
April Lin 林森, (Tending) (to) (Ta), production still, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.
Obsidian Coast is excited to present artist and filmmaker April Lin's new film (Tending) (to) (Ta), exhibited as OC's artist moving image commission.
Lin describes the project as an exchange of internal letters between two beings imagining one another across parallel realms. Communicating to an envisioned other who exists as a possibility beyond their self-perceived boundaries of reality, these two beings meet in a shared world of imagination.
The film grounds itself in tā, the monosyllabic sound which in Mandarin Chinese encompasses all third person pronouns: 他 (third person male), 她 (third person female), and 它 (more-than-human lifeforms and objects). As these multiple genders are all pronounced 'tā', the word 'ta' has in recent years been reconfigured and adopted as a gender neutral pronoun in colloquial contexts in Mainland China, in both queer spaces and beyond.
Extending the potentials of tā, (Tending) (to) (Ta) imagines an alternate world in which the potentialities of rethinking identity have long since been expanded. In the exchange between these two protagonists reaching for the unknown, our contemporary reality – where life is inescapably racialised, gendered and classes – collides with another realm. Here the links between identity, power and the body have been resown such that wholly new levels of subjectivity now flourish.
(Tending) (to) (Ta) asks where the boundaries of our understanding and imagination are drawn, how to reach beyond them, and what unforeseen modes of governing and policing might wait for us, if we were to leap across to the other side.
(Tending) (to) (Ta) will manifest in April Lin's solo exhibition at Obsidian Coast.
April Lin 林森 (b. 1996, Stockholm — they/them) is an artist-filmmaker investigating image-making as a site for the construction, sustenance, and dissemination of co-existent yet conflicting truths. They dream & explore & critique & fret & catastrophise & imagine & play with the potentials that the moving image holds — for a collective remembering of forgotten pasts, for a critical examining of normalised presents, and for a visualising of freer futures as, of course, imagined from the periphery.
April Lin 林森 uses video as a self-reflexive and cathartic tool, interweaving strands of auto-biography, world-building, documentary, performance, and the post-Internet, topped off with an inevitable garnish consisting of the other matters dialoguing with their brain and heart during the making process of each piece. Uniting their genre-fluid body of work is a commitment to centring oppressed knowledges, building an ethics of collaboration around reciprocal care, and exploring the linkages between history, memory, and interpersonal and structural trauma.
In 2019, Obsidian Coast invited proposals from UK based artists to produce a moving image project for a solo exhibition at Obsidian Coast in autumn 2020. The open call took as its point of departure the notion of the horizon. Constituting the circular parameter that determines the social, political and material conditions of our existence, horizons are boundaries that cannot be crossed and command realms of possibility. Bound to remain obscure, they pull us towards them as they infinitely recede. Yet rather than only representing the absolute, horizons are also malleable and contingent, and have embedded in them the potential of rupture. Obsidian Coast's inaugural moving image commission invited artists to reach beyond the horizon and expand the parameters of the possible.
The commission is kindly supported by Arts Council England and the Elephant Trust.