Grandma's Big Day Out

Howie Shia

1999, 06:00 minutes, B&W, English/Mandarin


This video is constructed around a tape recording of the artist’s grandmother talking about her family’s escape from communist China. Using a mixture of puppet animation and live performance, this tape contrasts factual
histories with personal histories and oral traditions. The visual narrative we see creates a deliberate distance between the original source material and a sympathetic secondhand interpretation.

First-place winner in the North American Crossing Borders Video Competition; one judge remarks, “Grandma’s Big Day Out is in this sense not unlike Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, with green tea taking the place of Proust’s madeleine. In both cases some little thing, but with pungent sensory qualities, evokes something more monumental.”

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Critical Writing

Video Primer: A Series of 5 Video Programs
by Michelle Jacques. Video Primer, 2001. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2001.
V is for video
by Mark Schilling. in si-tu _, 2000. Lennoxville: Art gallery of Bishop's University, 2000.