Faster, Higher - Gallery at BFI Southbank
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
FASTER, Higher, by British artist susan pui san lok, is a multi-screen installation exploring individual and national aspiration and endeavour, and will be shown in the Gallery at BFI Southbank from May 30 until August 31, 2008.
Staged to coincide with the Beijing Olympics, Faster, Higher also acts as an imaginative precursor to London 2012. A new commission, it uses film and television material from the BFI National Archive as well as new footage shot on location in London.
susan pui san lok has delved into the vast archive collections cared for by the BFI, to create a montage of Olympic material and rarely seen Chinese documentary news footage. In it, a shared visual and cultural rhetoric begins to emerge, in spite of the self-exclusion of China from the Games for three decades.
Complementing the archive material, new footage shot at East London’s Wushu Academy, bordering the Olympic site-in-progress, points to the campaign to recognise the martial art of Wushu as an Olympic as well as national sport, and to a long-standing Chinese immigrant community.
Faster, Higher highlights the repetitive exertions of young protagonists and potential future champions suggesting a complex socio-cultural narrative in which individual dreams and exhortations to exceed and excel run alongside national ambitions and their wider political ramifications. Meanwhile, the blue perimeter surrounding the future site serves as a literal and metaphorical screen, barrier and defence – against which dreams may be projected, protests erased and the labour behind the spectacle concealed.
Faster, Higher is commissioned by the BFI and Film and Video Umbrella, supported by Arts Council England.
susan pui san lok is an artist and writer based in London. Her work explores notions of place, translation, nostalgia, migration and diaspora. She has exhibited widely with recent projects including Golden, a solo exhibition at Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester and Beaconsfield, London, 2006.
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