Moving Image works
Lin has completed over 60 short films most of which being solo projects. In recent years, collaboration plays a more central role in her work.
Projects completed by – a creative team formed by Rachel Beckles Willson (composer, multi-instrumentalist, writer) and Lin Li: connective tissue Teatime (Did you think I was here to make the tea?) Be water, be light Unwept tears Improvised bodies
Moments – a collaborative/collective project involving a series of ultra-short silent videos
Through wordlessly goes 2022, 3 min The mind of a feverish body drifts far and deep through slivers of memories and layers of ineffable feelings.
Vestiges of home 2021, 1 min A city has undergone such changes that many of its citizens have to leave, and feel that they could no longer return. To them, their home city is no more than vestiges of memories which are slowly fading away.
Beyond silence 2021, 1 min 30 sec Beyond silence is about the pain and trauma of being oppressed and silenced by state power.
Above Us, the Sky trailer A film portrait of peace activist Brian Quail, a retired teacher in Glasgow who has been campaigning against nuclear weapons for decades and engages in non-violent direct actions. The film includes conversations between Brian and Lin that consider the meaning of his actions and what constitutes peace. Extracts from these conversations are combined with images of Brian’s direct actions and of his home – his intimate space which reveals his values, ideals and identity. The original version of the film was made in 2015 (39 min 10 sec). It was re-edited into a shorter version in 2021 (29 min 41 sec). More about the film Interview of Lin Li by Creative Scotland A few questions raised by the audience This project was funded by Creative Scotland through the Open Project Funding.
Witnessing peace 2020, 1 min Filmed during a peace demonstration outside the Faslane Naval Base in Scotland where Britain’s nuclear weapons are kept, Witnessing peace shows some of the photographic activities during the demonstration. It highlights the importance of the freedom to record and report by journalists and ordinary citizens as a form of checks and balances against state surveillance and power.
‘I am so tired’ 2019, 2 min 30 sec Imagination and emotion triggered by international news of displacement and conflict. More information
The Last Companion 2019, 31 min 33 sec A monologue based on the experience of someone who accompanied a stranger to travel to Switzerland to die. More information and full movie
Appearance 2016, 8 min 43 sec Showing seasonal changes through a bay window, accompanied by a soundtrack which draws on the artist’s personal experience and daily life, ‘Appearance’ considers how time passes almost imperceptibly within the apparent stability of our framed existence. Four minutes and beyond 2018, 4 minutes 30 second A shortened version of ‘Appearance’ vimeo.com/282870637/54fc469a89
Fragments of Peace 2014, 15 min 14 sec Using a mixture of interviews (with local residents) and fictional narrative (inspired by an old Chinese tale), this film considers the questions of what constitutes peace and whether peace is attainable, particularly in relation to the idealized notion of rural living. The images and the interweaving audio clips highlight the fragmentary, selective and illusory nature of our perception and understanding of reality. While the content of the film draws heavily on interviews with individuals, the interpretation and re-presentation of the interview material is highly subjective, and is therefore inseparable from the filmmaker’s personal experience. The content of the film is based largely on actual interviews, with the exception of the section on the seismic centre which consists of officially available information published on the internet voiced by an actor. This film was made with the support of the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival Residency, funded by Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures programme.
2013/2018, 2 min 16 sec Day by day by day Contemplation of time and emptiness.
Round and Round 2020, 4 min 49 sec A study of the visual representatoin of movements. The chimerical quality of the traces of energy left by moving subjects is brought out by a haunting soundtrack.
March into April 2020, 14 min 15 sec Made during the lockdown in Scotland in 2020, March into April is a collage of parallel worlds. The apparent security of staying at home with its linear time flow is juxtaposed with the wider external world revisited in memories which traverse time and place. The storm raging outside is mirrored by spectral disturbances in the inner space. Another element in this collage is a string of text which emobdies multiple layers of meaning and associative imagination.
You cannot remember your mother’s voice 2020, 3 min 50 sec A pair of hands folding origami objects learned in childhood embodies the reflection on a mother’s voice that can no longer be heard.
A Mixture of Notes: Remembering Stuart Campbell (1949-2018) 2019, 1 hour For Svetlana Zvererva & Family Stuart Campbell was a well respected Scottish musicologist, educator, organist, and choir director. His teaching, research and translation work have helped to enrich the knowledge of Russian music in the English speaking world. Through Russkaya Cappella, a chamber choir founded in 2009 and directed by him and his wife Svetlana Zvereva, he played an important role in introducing the rich repertoire of Russian choral music to Scotland. Stuart has left his marks on the lives and memories of many people. This film is a tribute to him and he is remembered through the words of Svetlana, his colleagues, choristers and former students, together with archival material and excerpts of the music he made.
European Voices in Edinburgh 2018, 39 min 58 sec Four EU nationals living in the capital city of Scotland were filmed at the locations of their choice. Speaking in their mother tongue (Polish, German, Swedish, and Spanish), they talk about the filming locations, their migration history, sense of rootedness and whether Brexit would affect their stay in Scotland. Their narratives reveal elements of their identity, values and outlook. With thanks to: Justyna Matyjasik Konstanze and Mánus Mcleod Laila Kjellström Amaya Bañuelos Marco
Swika and Its Home 2018, 19 min 10 sec Swika is a dog that lives with a family of nomads in the Sahara Desert in Morocco. He spends most of the time during the day sleeping under a pile of branches. In her attempt to get closer to Swika, Lin undertook a meditative walking practice around the doghouse. Swika’s owner Hamed, with the assistance of his relative and interpreter Youssef, talks about the changes which have affected their way of life. While the film centres around Swika and his house of branches, footage captured from the dog house offers oblique glimpses of the desert landscape and of the daily life of Hamed and his family. With thanks to Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival and Cafe Tissardmine Women Cinemakers’ interview with Lin Li about Swika and Its Home
Vanishing Point 2018, 5 min 3 sec The heart desires to break through invisible walls by means of a meditative walking practice, in order to connect the near and the far, and to achieve the state when the self vanishes. With thanks to Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival and Cafe Tissardmine
MO摩ROC洛CO哥 2018, 11 min 57 sec Filmed during a residency in the Sahara Desert, this video has a tripartite structure inspired by the Chinese name for Morocco (摩洛哥), with the parts focusing on three different sensory modalities (touch, seeing, and hearing) through which I experienced the desert environment. Underlying the whole film is the question of how I positioned myself in relation to the host country during my short visit, whilst acknowledging that my subjective experience of the place was inevitably fragmentary and limited. With thanks to Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival and Cafe Tissardmine
It begins with roots 2013, 10 min With a narrative which meanders between factual information and personal reflection, ‘It begins with roots’ is a video essay using the roots of Banyan trees as the starting point for more contemplative associations. Drawing on the artist’s own experience, this video touches on a number of subjects including migration and otherness, and impermanence and mortality.
Alida’s gift 2020, 2 min 34 sec
Prelude Perhaps Postscript 2014/5, 9 min 42 sec Using images taken with the camera partly immersed in water, this video plays with the idea of ‘stream of consciousness’ in borderland mental states (such as the transitional state between sleep and wakefulness, or between life and death; and reverie). In such states, logical thinking is interrrupted or replaced by more enigmatic processes which draw on personal and collective memories, needs and emotions. In communicating subjective experiences, words are often unavoidable but they might impose some form of artificial coherence which distorts the ineffable and reifies the incomprehensible.
Silence, when I enter it, is gone 2013, 4 min A meditative soundtrack accompanies sequences of still photos which create an impression of movement and continuity. At the border between illusion and reality, the image and sound encourage the viewer to immerse in the rhythm of nature.
Skylight 2019, 4 min The begining of winter In silence I wait and wait and wait …?
So near, so far 2012, 4 min 33 sec Water in nature has a mystical quality which is comforting to some people but unsettling to others. With an original soundtrack, this video seeks to evoke such a quality through an inter-modality alchemy of vocal sounds (breathing, whispering and humming) and field recording combined with the more abstract visual elements of waves.
Samsara 2011, 1 min 38 sec In this visual metaphor of the ‘flow of life’ (Samsara), the continuous motion of the prayer wheels together with an original soundtrack create a moment of meditative intensity.
Drifting 2011, 3 min 57 sec This is the first video which Lin made. The soundtrack is made up of environmental sound and Lin’s vocal improvisation in response to the visual image. Using simple transformation of the visual image and sounds combined in a way to create a shimmering effect, this film is a meditative video poem which explores the mesmerizing quality of gently moving water.
Roaming 2012, 3 min 41 sec An unplanned footage was used as the starting point for the observation of a living creature moving across a micro-landscape. The observation was recorded in the form of ‘blind’ sketching by the artist on a digital tablet. The filming and the drawing are attempts to contain time and space and both involve a cyclical process of searching, finding and losing. The sound of the sketching process highlights the interaction between the observer and the observed.
Making Sense 2019, 10 min Layers of audio description, texts, gestures (a mixture of British sign language and miming), and other moving images and sounds are weaved together to explore different ways of communication, accessibility, imagination and the expression of the ineffable.
Arrested Cycles 2015, 10 min Sculptures and text by Andy McClintock Voice & music Ann McClintock Image, sound & editing by Lin Li
Hundun 2016, 2 min 54 sec Cycles of the same notes sung in different permutations become an incantation which invokes light and transforms chaos into order. (Hundun is the Chinese term which refers to the primordial chaos before the Universe was formed.)
Here and there 2016, 3 min The fluid experience of a home from which the artist would soon depart conjures up a different kind of displacement, as the dualities of here and there, stillness and movement merge into one.
Shadows 2015, 1 min 47 sec The atomic bomb explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused ‘flash burns’ which killed people, whose bodies shielded whatever was behind them. As a result ‘shadows’ were imprinted on pavements, walls and other structures. These shadows are a reminder of the destructive power of nuclear weapons and they cry out for history not to be repeated.
imagine 2013, 2min 46 sec imagine how to sing and breathe under water imagine the head held by hands under water imagine he she they or a people sing and breathe under water
Imaginary time 2014, 4 min 38 sec The soundtrack consists of extracts from old U.S. civil defense filmstrips talking about ‘massive threat’ of attack, and building ‘fortresses’. This is juxtaposed with a computerized voice reading the physicist Stephen Hawking’s writing on imaginary time. The reading is accompanied by fusion of images across place and time, hovering above the border between reality and imagination whilst referencing traumatic episodes in recent world history. Could similarly devastating events happen to any nation at any time, and what would be the best way to prevent this? This is one of the many questions which the film could raise but offers no answer to.
Where words trap the mind 2012, 7 min 26 sec This video is based on a piece of experimental writing of the same title by Chin Li, published in Gnommero: Quickness (edited by Sarah Tripp) – a collection of responses to one of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium.
59783 2012, 3 min 38 sec A poem of random numbers on a dream-like journey to nowhere
Cocooned 2011, 2 min 27 sec By juxtaposing a soundtrack which contrasts the tranquillity of the visual images in this video, the artist questions her way of life in a peaceful, affluent country against the wider context of the conflict and suffering in the daily lives of many people around the world.
Tomorrow 2011, 6 min 46 sec Made in response to an invitation from the composer Igor Stankovic, this video is an interpretation of his composition Improvement 149 (soundcloud.com/sinaj/improvement-149-1).
A summer gift 2018, 3 min 13 sec Made for the film library at the new Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the Department of Clinical Neuroscience in Edinburgh. As part of the patient distraction programme, this animation aims to calm and distract young patients while they are undergoing clinical procedures.
– a series of short videos in slow motion Adagio