Myth(s) of Creation

Ming Yuen S. Ma

1997, 15:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English


The first in a four part series, this experimental video is a conceptual road movie that not only travels between cities and countries, but language and identities as well. It combines accounts of trips with my family in China, Europe and the U.S. with excerpts from travel writing, testimonies of political exiles and refugees, and quotes from theoretical discussions on nomadic subject positions. Home movies, travel footage and stylized performances done "on-the-road" are combined into a poetic, nonlinear flow of images, while text fragments read by twelve different voices are layered and combined electronically into a dense soundscape.
Through this discursive essay of sound, text, and images, me and my family assume and discard the identities of tourist, traveler, foreign investor, immigrant, refugee, illegal alien, exile. The romanticism in travel writing is juxtaposed against the harsh realities of political exiles and refugees. While post-modern theorists postulate a de-territorialized nomadic subjectivity, recent immigrants stubbornly hold hold on to their ideas of nationality. I examine my sense of belonging to and alienation from my family and the larger diasporic Chinese culture.

The series titled Xin Lu, which translates from Chinese as "paths of ones heart", is a large scale media project exploring the intersections between tourism, travel, immigration, exile, and displacement. In this project, I use the metaphor of nomadism to examine my family history, which branches out from the former British colony of Hong Kong. It will be completed as four single-channel videos and an interactive World Wide Web Site.

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