|Location||USA / Los Angeles|
|Residency||18th Street Arts Center|
|Year of the Grant||2011|
|Work||Even They Never Met|
|Personal Website||NIU Chun-Chiang's Personal Website|
During the creative process, Niu has investigated the incredible relations between materiality and spirituality which in our life consciousness from the individuals to groups. He has worked with different sorts of participants to narrate their past experiences for the creation of a more united, joint experience.
Niu Jun Qiang’s artworks have been featured in the short film competition at the Rotterdam International Film Festival (the Netherlands), Osmosis Audiovisual Media festival (U.K.), Pixilerations Tech Art Exhibition (U.S.A.), the Aguilar International Short Film Festival (Spain), Tours Asian Film Festival (France), ARTchSO Video Festival in Rennes (France), It Takes Four Sorts: Cross-Strait Four-region Artistic Exchange Project (Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival,Taipei Arts Awards in Taipei…etc). His works also had been showed in Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Mexico, Seoul, Beijing, Shenzhen. He won the 53rd Worldfest-Houston, Remi Award, Experimental Film & Video Art Film, 2020.
“Even They Never Met, created in September, 2011 during my residency at 18th Street Arts Center, is a collaborative video project that links Taiwan and the city of Los Angeles. It was completed in different time and space in a mockumentary format.
Before I left Taiwan, I asked four of my female friends to provide a photo of herself. I then found four other women in Los Angeles and asked them to each choose one of these photos and hypothetically describe the stranger on the photo (for example, describe her profession, personal habits, favorite foods, past and future, etc.). I asked them to describe ‘facts’ of their foreign partners in a way that indicated they were close friends (for instance, use ‘I remember’ instead of the uncertain ‘it seems like’). The interview process was filmed. After my residency, I returned to Taiwan and asked the four Taiwanese women to describe their corresponding American partners in the same manner. Finally, I edited clips from each party and interlaced them together. The final piece looked as if the women were having conversations across time and space.
The four women in the United States are of different ages and have different backgrounds. Some were born in California, and others came to California for school or to work. I filmed them in their homes or at their place of work. These spaces demonstrated markings of their lives. As a result, I was able to see how the daily life of am American is different from what is shown in movies.
The interesting part about this project is how we come to transform and understand ourselves in a different way, while describing a stranger from a few photos. In addition, this personal experience combines with the imagination of a foreign land and culture. The imagined subject thus becomes an intermediate between the self and the other. This reflects our lives today, in which faces of people can be accessible and researched through the internet, but the people behind the faces are difficult to connect with in a profound and sincere way.
This project is a work of collaborative literature that directly relates to documentation. In addition to the subjects filmed, audiences from Taiwan, as well as the United States contributed their own thoughts to the piece. This collective imagination has become a model of memory that transcends races, languages, time, and space. I created an installation with hundreds of pictures of women to accompany the video portion of the work. Completed in April 2012, the entire work was exhibited in Chi-Wen Gallery, Taipei. This project gave me the opportunity to make American friends and to participate in the 35th Golden Harvest Awards for Outstanding Short Film.”