The work of Shelly Silver (1957) bridges the contested territories between public and private, narrative and documentary, and increasingly in recent years, the watcher and the watched. For her new installation here, his 這裡, 他的 she centres on the place where she’s been living for the last 24 years, Chinatown, NYC, a small insular neighbourhood slapped by history – wars, revolutions, pacts between nations, slumlords, discrimination. Her fictional protagonist/ cohort in this enterprise is a man who has recently returned to Chinatown, a place that he fled from as soon as he possibly could, to take care of his ailing mother. The man is a filmmaker, and as he waits for the inevitable, he fills this time, the impossible void of waiting for someone to die, with watching, with filming. Watching, for him, is a surprisingly active pursuit. As he watches he remembers and rebuilds, permutating a history he felt damaged by, a world he felt pushed from. Waiting shapes and twists time. It is possible to see things – impossible things. We become intimate with this man, or at least that is what he wants. To seduce – to draw us near. We will wait with him. He uses ‘the present’ of his images to manipulate past and future. He must not only change it for himself, he must change it for us. He is a ruse (he tells us so). A ruse to keep us here with him, watching. Watching what he watches.

“My eye in your eye. My tongue in your mouth.”

Silver constructs an abstract waiting room, encompassing both external and internal space. The film is envisioned spatially, inviting/ coercing the viewer to enter into an approximation of his space. The viewer navigates in the minutes, hours, seasons and place of this man’s waiting, embodying his relationship to death, desire, history, voyeurism, power, pleasure and life.

Voiceover: Lu Yu 鹿瑜 Assistant Editor: Cassandra Guan 关昕 Thanks to:  Museum of Chinese in America, Karen Chien, Timothy Bell.

here, his 這裡, 他的, Shelly Silver, 2011. Courtesy the Artisthere, his 這裡, 他的, Shelly Silver, 2011. Courtesy the Artisthere, his 這裡, 他的, Shelly Silver, 2011. Courtesy the Artist  
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