LILI

Copyright artist(s) and courtesy ARGOS

Artist(s)

Year

2015

Duration

00:12:00

Original format

DIGITAL FILE

Color

col.

Color system

PAL

Languages

Spoken: English US

Availability

Distribution
Collection

In a TV studio a girl named Lili (played by Belgian actress Maaike Neuville) is asked to serve as a so-called China Girl. China Girls, used in cinema history since the 1920’s, are women with Caucasian skin who are filmed alongside a colour-chart in order to adjust the colours of the film. They have no dialogues to memorize or characters to impersonate. All they have to do, is have an impeccable white complexion. Their skin – white as porcelain – is used as a reference for the colour grading of camera and printing, ultimately excluding people of colour who do not conform to this implicit norm. Lili tells the story of one of these China Girls through archival material, found footage and documentary recordings, and questions the tradition of China Girls contextualized in a society, which, according to anthropologist Michael Taussig exemplifies chromophobic uneasiness with color.