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The Ghost of Sister Ping

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The Ghost of Sister Ping is an art work and multi-media installation based on a reinterpretation of historical Chinese ghost fictions, filmed on location in Hong Kong’s northeastern New Territories. The artwork presents the frustrated romance of a young academic lecturer, Sister Ping, via a looping montage of non-linear depictions of her life and exploits with an ex-lover who deserted her to have an affair acting as “bottom” for a much younger lover and homme fatale, Fritz. Join Sister Ping on her journey of ghost becoming in this interactive installation.

Who is Sister Ping and who is Professor Moenen?

 

Ping is a lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who dies and becomes a ghost after she is abandoned by her lover, Professor Moenen. She is the doomed and sexualized character trope of traditional ghost stories who is here appropriated within a framework of women’s erotic fantasies and queer bodily affect. The ghost is an unhinged entity who has died and wanders around in a post-human realm.

Her excessive sexual desires cannot be fulfilled by humans and certainly do not lead to reproduction.

 

The artwork also borrows from a 16th century Flemish miracle play, Marike van Nieumeghen. This play was performed in Flemish community squares around the same time that China saw the heyday of its ghost stories in the Ming and early Ching Dynasty (1580-1700). Marike is a fragile woman who is seduced by an evil male force, Moenen, when he disguises himself as a scholar. In a moment of distress and anxiety, Moenen appears to her and promises to teach her all human languages and the seven “free art forms” --retorica, musica, logica, grammatica, geometrica, aritmetica en astronomia—while abstaining from the art of black magic. The devil is like a Chinese ghost who tries to convince the human to transgress and to walk away from traditional domains of knowledge and morality. The fantastic tale continues to follow seven years of Marike and her lover, converging in a bleak conservative ending intended to hold a negative mirror to society. In our own story, we have adapted Chinese and Flemish folklore to suit modern queer sensibilities and erotic cravings.

Katrien Jacobs..............Writer & Director

Fan Popo.......................Director (Love Scene)

Gloria Furness..............Producer

Li Tiecheng...................Director of Photography

Evangelo Costadimas....Editor & Camera 

Robert Iolini...................Composer

Cyrus Tang....................Sound Design

Ricky Yip.......................Sound Design

Zhou Haotian................B-Roll Camera 

Morgana Ho..................Second Asst. Camera

Xu Ziyue........................Costume & Makeup

Bing Czeng.....................Subtitles & Research 

 

Cast 

Sandy Liu Ho Nam........Sister Ping

Mel K.F. Lau..................Prof. Moenen

Subtember Ho...............Fritz

Morgana Ho..................Betty

Bing Czeng....................Xue Yu

Produced in association with Baobao Films. 

Sound mix produced at Noisy Miner Studios.

Filmed on location in the NE New Territories, HK.

Supported by

Hong Kong Arts Development Council*

Department of Cultural & Religious Studies (CUHK)

M.A. in Visual Culture Studies (CUHK)

*Hong Kong Arts Development Council fully supports freedom of artistic expression. The views and opinions expressed in this project do not represent the stand of the Council.

I wrote the script for this ghost story about a decade ago when my sexual memories and desires were quite strong. I could not reconnect with these feelings very easily but then started working through them on a different level. The second aspect that kept changing the tone of this project is that I was dealing with illness and death very closely and in a less romantic fashion. Altogether, this project provided a huge kind of relief that I hope the audience will somehow experience that as well.

Katrien Jacobs

Writer & Director

On one hand, directing a sex scene is never a challenge for me, as sex is just one of the regular things that we do in our life, just like eating, walking, and sleeping. On the other hand, it was such a challenge, as everyone has different understandings about sex as it connected with their lives, loves and careers. We were so lucky to find Mel and Subtember. Their attitude about body and sex and their understanding about the story was amazing! They inspired me so much through suggesting a relationship between director and performers that will benefit me for the rest of my life.

Fan Popo

Director (Love Scene)

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It seems that Sister Ping committed suicide, physically losing her life because of the unrequited love she gave. However, I had second thoughts after playing the character: she was not really dead after she was heart-broken; she was just released from her pain as time passed by. The revenge on the professor may just be her imagination; the ghost of Sister Ping may just be the representation of her mind or her dark side, not the actual ghost as we see it. 

Sandy Liu Ho Nam

Sister Ping

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KATRIEN JACOBS

Writer & Director

Katrien Jacobs is a scholar and artist who works as an associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has lectured and published widely about sexuality and media, contemporary arts, media activism, and artistic/visual research methods. She moved to Hong Kong in 2005 and has since then devoted most of her research to contemporary Chinese, Japanese and trans-Asian arts and media platforms. . Her book People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet (Intellect Books, 2012) investigates mainland China’s immersion in new trends in sexually explicit media. It was widely commented on in academia and the news media as a pioneering study of China’s unwieldy sex entertainment and surveillance society.  Her most recent book, The Afterglow of Women’s Pornography in Post-Digital China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), focuses on feminist and queer media cultures, including Boys’ Love erotica and ghost fictions. 

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