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James T. Hong Biography

Taiwanese-American filmmaker and artist James T. Hong creates thought-provoking works that prompt conversation on controversial socio-political and historical issues.

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In 2012, Hong premiered a short documentary film at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) and co-curated a section of the Taipei Biennial. In 2013, he premiered two works at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) and was a guest artist/speaker at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and other international art spaces in Europe and the USA. In 2014, Hong exhibited a number of works in Hong Kong, Taipei, and San Francisco and at the Hamburg Kunstverein in Germany, the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China, and the Mediacity Seoul Biennial in South Korea. In 2015, his multimedia installation about the Opium Wars was exhibited in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. In 2016, Hong premiered a new documentary at the Berlinale, Kiev Biennial, and Image Forum in Japan. Throughout 2016, Hong participated in visual art shows throughout East Asia, and he premiered a lecture/performance installation about Friedrich Nietzsche at the Taipei Biennial. In 2017, Hong presented films or other works at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, HKW and Württembergischer Kunstverein in Germany, and Asakusa in Tokyo. Hong also inaugurated the 2017 e-flux lecture series in NYC. In 2018, Hong premiered an abbreviated, installation version of his 2016 Nietzsche work at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Singapore, curated the 9th Taiwan Experimental Media Festival in Taipei, and premiered a new documentary about biological warfare at the Busan International Film Festival where it won Best Documentary (Mecenat Award).

In 2020, Hong is participating in the Taipei Biennial with a film that attempts to address the absence of epic science fiction films in Taiwan's movie industry. His work consists in a series of concept art storyboards for a speculative science fiction film set in the near future, entitled The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend. The film presents a military conflict in Taiwan which involves forces from China, the USA, Japan,Taiwan, and other nations. The movie follows diverse characters including a teenage girl who becomes separated from her family during the chaos of resistance and battle. Her character arc goes from an optimistic, skilful, and agile hero to a broken-down survivor who eventually acquiesces to defeat.

Since this film project is technically in pre-production, the narrative is still being finalised. In fact, the final edit of the finished movie might not reflect the working or shooting scripts, so all scenes at the moment are tentative. In this pre-production phase, the storyboards will reflect possible divergent and converging narratives and scenarios. In other words, as in any movie production, the story can and will change. The storyboards reflect possible ideas, not hardened realities.

Ocula 2020

James T. Hong
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The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend by James T. Hong contemporary artwork painting
James T. Hong The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend, 2020 watercolor on Canson “c” à grain 180 gsm, 18 pieces, 27.5 x 39.5 cm each. Illustrator: Chen Yin-Ju
Taipei Fine Arts Museum

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