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Open Secret:
Screening + Workshop
with Kriss Li

9 + 10 February 2023

A screening, an artist talk, and a workshop!

Screening + Artist Talk 
Thursday, 9 February, 6–8 pm
The Screening Room,  120 Princess St, Kingston, ON

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Workshop
Friday, 10 February, 11:30 am–2:30 pm
Agnes Etherington Art Centre

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All screenings are free and open to all.
The workshops are free and open only to students.
Register as space is limited.

Open Secret is a series composed of screenings and workshops featuring the work of Parastoo Anoushahpour, Kriss Li, Sharlene Bamboat, and Sofía Gallisá Muriente. This series takes its departure from Fred Moten’s words that “poetry investigates new ways for people to get together and do stuff in the open, in secret.” Similarly, cinema’s capacity to condition spaces for gathering, and the double maneuver of opacity and transparency inherent in its making sets the precedent for this sort of investigation embedded in collaboration. These works present a way to renegotiate what forms around the binaries of outside and inside, of what we know and what we don’t need to know, of expanse and enclosure. The four artists invite us to think alongside them about the effects of subtle transformations, the eroticism of language and translation, dispersion and collectivity, and the architecture of permeability and impermanence. All through what might inspire new formations of the diasporic image.

This series offers an opportunity to showcase each artist’s work in an intimate setting, with conversations to follow the screening. As well, each artist facilitates a workshop the next day for students. This is a chance to think with them on process, practice and form and on how to build a foundational framework for collaboration to take place.

Curated by Nasrin Himada

Screening

This program features an artist talk and screenings of select short films by Li.
FIRST MONTHS OF FREEDOM (2021)
9:17, documentary, interview/portrait/archival media
Distributed by Groupe Intervention Vidéo
A woman’s first months off parole into the pandemic.

CLEVELAND: THE RESURRECTED ARCADE (2018)
6:52, experimental documentary, architectural study/archival media
Distributed by Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
“The dreaming collective…through the arcades, communes with its own insides” – Walter Benjamin
A visit to the restored arcade in post-industrial Cleveland, the piece uses architectural footage and archival audio to explore the city’s Sisyphean efforts in urban renewal.

TWO SNAKES (2015)
9:30, experimental, animation/autobiography/archival media
Distributed by Groupe Intervention Vidéo & Video Out
An experimental animation and documentary about diasporic desires for foundational myths. Seeking a home in reclaimed ancestry and seeking a self in reappropriated narratives and finding fragments instead.

ABOLITION FILM SOCIETY: FLIPBOOK CINEMA (2022)
6:25, silent 2-channel video, paper & binding
Abolition Film Society: Flipbook Cinema is a collaboration between Kriss Li and Amber Kim, an activist and author incarcerated in Washington State. Kriss coordinated a 6-month reading group with Amber around the question of how to get from the society we have right now to an abolitionist future. From this reading group, a 2-channel video and flipbook were created collaboratively using for-profit communication platforms the prison utlises. The video, flipbook and documentation from the project will form the materials for a future exhibition.

Workshop

What is the opposite of a prison? Using science fiction scenarios, this workshop invites participants to collectively investigate the carceral system, chart power structures typically rendered invisible, and envision a future without prisons.

BIOGRAPHY

Kriss Li is a multimedia artist who creates films, installations, and conceptual projects that explore structures of power. These works investigate the foundational divisions and hierarchies that maintain our social order—the ways these systems condition us in spite of our intentions, and the hidden sites of possibility that we can exploit towards greater collective capacities.

Kriss’s artistic practice is informed by extensive engagement with community organizing, especially at Prisoner Correspondence Project, a volunteer-run solidarity initiative for LGBTQ prisoners where they’ve been a collective member since 2009. Their work has been shown globally, including screenings at DOC NYC (USA), International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (Germany), Vancouver International Film Festival (Canada), and Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival (Germany).

Kriss was born in Chengdu, China, and currently lives on the unceded territories of the xʷmǝθkʷǝy̓ǝm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Selí̓l ̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. They work as a union organizer in their day job.

Portrait of Kriss Li. Courtesy of the artist

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