September feature: Valentina Ferrandes

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biography

Video title: Lilong
2009, 16:42

synopsis
Lilong settlement is a low-rise, ground-related housing pattern, typical of Shanghai. Characterized by a strong sense of neighbourhood and cohesiveness, this typology of estate, constituted by two or more blocks of flats with an inner courtyard, has constituted the prevalent choice of Shanghai inhabitants until 1949. Today, as the urban restyling is taking place, the Lilong typology is quickly disappearing forcing its inhabitants to use public parks rather than its courtyard, for daily physical exercise, variations on Thai Chi and traditional singing.

While the urban and human geography of Shanghai is changing and these social activities are performed mainly by elderly people, parks become also stages for fragmented “solo” performances. My video is a peculiar collection of individual portraits, of ambiguous repetitive gestures, shadowed by images of high-rise buildings and bird’s eye views of playgrounds. Whether or not these images are a realist representation of common individual workout, at the same time, they suggest a sense of loss and isolation, confinement and detachment.
The work is realized after a long period of research about the Feng Shui philosophy, particularly the connection between flows of energy, building materials and techniques, and the human beings’ position in between these dynamic forces.