Film “Ein Waisenhaus in China”

HY_closeup_hands2-1024x576A film project by Karen Michelsen Castañón about the daily presence of coloniality:  The point of departure for this video-essay is an engraving published 1898 in an illustrated French magazine. The image pretends to depict a scene in an orphanage run by French missionaries in China. In the caption on the back of the engraving, statistical data is enlisted to evidence the “progress” brought about by French missionary work in diminishing the infanticide rate in China, a land in which the “barbaric” practice of infanticide is purportedly habitual. FRISE, Künstlerhaus Hamburg e.V. (18./19./20. April)

The point of departure for this video-essay is an engraving published 1898 in an illustrated French magazine. The image pretends to depict a scene in an orphanage run by French missionaries in China. In the caption on the back of the engraving, statistical data is enlisted to evidence the “progress” brought about by French missionary work in diminishing the infanticide rate in China, a land in which the “barbaric” practice of infanticide is purportedly habitual.

The colonial image, widely circulated through the French illustrated press at the time, is treated like a metaphoric archeological site. Its historical and contextual layers are excavated through a variety of interviews, set in cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin, which are interwoven with my personal observations. While the image triggers personal childhood memories of my own migration history, it also reminds me of the imposition of christianity as a means to justify colonial and imperial enterprises throughout Latin American history, as well as of current humanitarian discourses.

The video-essay explores, among other aspects, the tension within such a seemingly benign image and the colonial enterprise it is supposed to justify. Among the interviewees, who bring to our awareness very distinct inflections and reflections on what the colonial image is saying, are Houria Bouteldja (activist), Ramón Grosfoguel (sociologist), and Hu Ying (professor for East Asian literatures).

Un crèche en Chine / An orphanage in China / Ein Waisenhaus in China, HD video (30 min)

Einladung zum Film “Ein Waisenhaus in China”, der noch an diesem Wochenende (18./19./20. April) in der FRISE läuft.

Der Film “Ein Waisenhaus in China”  beschäftigt sich mit Kolonialgeschichte und Neokolonialismus. Der Ausgangspunkt zu dieser künstlerischen Reise ist ein Kupferstich, der Ende des 19. Jh. veröffentlicht wurde. Dort wird angeblich ein französisch-katholisches Waisenhaus in China dargestellt, in dem Säuglinge und Kleinkinder von Nonnen versorgt werden. Im Film führt Karen Michelsen Castañón Gespräche mit Wissenschaftlern und Aktivisten, die zusammen die Bedeutungsschichten des Kolonialbildes ausgraben und die heutige Relevanz des Bildes aufzeigen.

Wo?
FRISE, Künstlerhaus Hamburg e.V.
Arnoldstr.  26 – 30, 22765 Hamburg

Öffnungszeiten:
Fr – So 16 – 18 Uhr
oder nach Vereinbarung: 0160 / 90 375 495

Karen Michelsen Castañón
karenmichelsencastanon.com

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