Lin Li, ‘I am so tired’
The sea is one of the great versatile characters of drama, literature, cinema. In your film, it’s violent, aggressive, changeable. How did you arrive at this particular footage?
What I try to express in ‘I am so tired’ is the emotional impact of the news reports in recent years about migrants who have escaped their homeland by boats. I cannot even begin to imagine how these refugees would feel as they drift along in the changeable, potentially violent and dangerous sea. The imagery expresses the overwhelming emotions which I find difficult to describe in words, but the choppy rise and fall of the waves in their increasingly intense colours seems to be able to convey the complex web of feelings I have experienced when listening to such news. Part of the wave footage in ‘I am so tired’ has been used in an earlier video I made, and is I think even more appropriate to the theme of the present work. The original wave footage was captured from a ferry during a rather rough crossing to an island. It was combined with a watercolour painting I had done to create the changing colours.
Thinking of place, of nationhood, of belonging… what kinds of testimonies are we hearing here, and how important was it that you kept the testimonies to snippets rather than full quotes?
The audio and text are extracted from BBC news reports. I have only used snippets rather than full quotes because I assume many viewers would be familiar with the refugee crisis in Europe this century, caused largely by violence and conflict such as the war in Syria. My concern is also more universal than geopolitically specific. Certain words in these reports stick out as they conjure a visceral imagination in me due to their physicality or repeated use by different journalists. Although the news items I used were about specific places and events, similar stories have happened, and sadly will continue to happen, in many parts of the world and at different times. My own emotional reaction has been influenced by the fact that my maternal grandparents and their family members drowned when they tried to flee China by sea many decades ago. A different place, a different history, but the same kind of tragedy which the human race seems to be incapable of avoiding.