The video is an extract from the three channel, mixed media installation of ‘Seating Code,’ which was first created and exhibited at Goldsmiths College in 2010 by Hong Yane Wang.
Hong Yane Wang is a female filmmaker from Beijing. She has worked in the film industry and spent a large amount of time working on film shooting sets where several 35mm cameras are rolling. This is where she discovered a “Chinese mythology”, a superstitious story that everyone in China/Hong Kong/Taiwan filmmaking circles know about - female crew are not allowed to sit on any technical box (camera box) whereas men are free to do so because of the belief that women incur bad luck and could jeopardise the picture.
This is a ridiculous rule imposed on all women who work in Chinese speaking film industry, as well as a sheer discrimination on female filmmakers, disguised as either physiology or spirituality. The consequence is there is almost no camera woman in China for example in mainland China. At the time of filming, only one woman worked as a camera assistant who is featured in the video. In the hierarchy of film jobs women being subservient to men is reinforced. It is rather a gender politics issue.
Hong interviewed more than 20 film crew in China with a video camera. She asked them to tell the story in his/her own way and how it affects their reality. Their attitudes vary a lot and with the focus being on efforts to explain the sexual signification of the camera lens.
The final work is a multi-channel video installation combined with mixed media, which transform a gallery or a public space into a film shooting set, where you see camera boxes, clapper board and studio lighting. Three video monitors play different footage including the interviews, a performance piece and the handling of film camera and camera boxes by a member of film crew whose face is invisible. The audience are encouraged to explore this recreation of the film shooting set by sitting on the technical boxes, and deciding if they want to believe the story and obey the rule.
• 2013 hetero q.b. International Video Programme, Museu do Chiado/Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
• 2013 All My Independent Women Video Lounge, Brotherton Library, Leeds University
• 2012 London Feminist Film Festival, London
• 2010 Corto Helvetico al Femminile, Switzerland
• 2010 In Her Shoes, The Women’s Art Library, London