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still from May You Live in Interesting Times (Fiona Tan, 1997)

May You Live in Interesting Times

Fiona Tan: May You Live in Interesting Times

Fiona Tan was born in Indonesia from an Indonesian-Chinese father and an Australian mother. May You Live in Interesting Times is Tan’s most autobiographical work to date. It traces the history of the Tan family. In a documentary style, the work critically analyses the construction of (her own) identity.

poster Fiona Tan - Mountains and Molehills

The film also investigates the identity of the overseas Chinese and delves into their diaspora. Through various testimonies relating some of the history and the present-day situation of the family Tan and its individuals, a journey is made that leads from the Netherlands to Germany, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China, where the original ‘Tan village’ is found. Although every inhabitant of this place carries the Tan name, the artist herself feels that she will never be able to feel at home there.

May You Live in Interesting Times displays how personal and political history, migratory movements and cultural background modifies the perception of identity. Although the myth of an original culture may persist, it inevitably gets transformed and even abandoned across time.

The film will be introduced by film critic Dana Linssen (NRC), who interviewed Fiona Tan for the Mountains and Molehills exhibition catalogue. The introduction will take place in Dutch, the film is screened with English subtitles.

Following this programme, at 21:45, Vincent Monnikendam's film Mother Dao, the Turtlelike will be screened. This film was selected by Fiona Tan. Tickets for this screening are available separately.

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121 min.

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Fiona Tan

Fiona Tan is known for her video and film installations in which she explores memory, history, globalisation and the role of images.

Learn more
Fiona Tan, Gray Glass (2020), still, 3 channel 4K video installation, black & white, 3 x mono, courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London
still from May You Live in Interesting Times (Fiona Tan, 1997)
still from May You Live in Interesting Times (Fiona Tan, 1997)
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