Loni Ding on Documemoir (HUM470)

“The central storyteller, a fictional Asian time traveler/narrator, guides a subjective journey inside the larger history. Taking expressive liberties, he offers a first-person sense of time, place and voice of the immigrants who filled in the land we stand on, pioneered the field crops that are California’s agricultural glory, and built the 100-year-old temple we peruse, still filled with silken banners and huge Chinese gods brought from China. All these cultural goods, continuously imported, were distributed efficiently throughout the dispersed Chinese settlements of the western states—and later across the rest of the country.”

“We do not work in straight narrative (e.g. docudrama), but rather try to achieve a kind of evocation by contact with the relevant specific historical persons and immersion in actual sites, hands-on contact with authentic artifacts, and original documents, etc. On one hand we are committed to exacting research, faithful representation of the historical record, and the analyses of academic scholarship; and on the other hand, in the face of unyielding silence, we take expressive liberties to ‘conjure’ first-person voices, and propose interpretations, more intuition and insight- based than fact-based in order to materialize otherwise elusive intangibles.”

“[W]ith regard to personal identity we want to portray the many ways an individual is named and comes to name himself. We look for those historical moments/events that act to define an individual’s sense of her/his individual distinctiveness apart from all ‘others,’ and also those events that relate to the individual’s sense of his/her own ‘agency’, and integrity as the generative wellspring of personal consciousness, choices, and actions.”

“We also search out social art forms: artistically created metaphorical expressions of collective history and identity found in stories, visual art works, performances and rituals, mementos, markers set at sacred sites, etc. – all of which can be the insightful and evocative representations that cross -link to other realms, beyond ‘straightforward facts.’

1 thought on “Loni Ding on Documemoir (HUM470)

  1. Monica

    Here is a glimpse of the documentary, (Madams of the Barbary Coast). I no longer know where to find the full length film, but it relates very well to TPG.

    I am not good at this, if it does not post, The youtube title is: Chinatown 1848, Madams of the Barbary Coast

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