Officer Tuba Meets Happy Ghost
2011, 05:00 minutes, Colour, Korean with English subtitles
soJin Chun combines characters appropriated from two Hong Kong films and digitally rotoscopes them into contemporary Super 8mm film footage shot in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Toronto, Canada. Pulled from their Hong Kong settings, these characters are recast as Koreans, playing with western perceptions of Asian identity. The ruptures and continuity of culture within diasporic communities frame these figures displaced in time, space, language, and culture.
The principal characters in this new film are the titular Officer Tuba (of Where’s Officer Tuba 1986) and an actress taken from the Happy Ghost Franchise (five films 1984-1991). Although they never meet, Chun casts these two figures as potentially star-crossed lovers searching for each other at the same moment in cities thousands of miles apart. In this work, Chun has composited the two figures onto digital transfers of contemporary super 8mm film footage. She creates a digital hybrid confusing geographic and temporal spaces by combining the small gauge film she shot in Sao Paolo Brazil and Toronto Canada in early 2011 with faded grandeur of the 35mm source reels. Shot in the Koreatowns of these two cities, Chun’s new Super 8mm locations play on western assumptions of Asian physical and cultural homogeneity. Pulling these characters from their original Cantonese films and recasting them as Koreans separated by the experience of migration, evokes global histories, in particular the 1997 handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty.
soJIn Chun’s Officer Tuba Meets Happy Ghost presents viewers with an alternate method for engaging with representation and time. Through a labour intensive process, Chun has removed characters from two 1980s comedy/ ghost films in the archive. Working with digital mattes and rotoscoping, these figures have been pulled from their original time and space to engage with the present and the Asian diaspora in the Americas.
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