The Untethered Ashes

The Untethered Ashes

Beichen Zhang cooperation with Yantong Li (Tangent Collective), 4K Three-channel Video with Sound, 200cm x 200cm Custom CarpetBronze Hummingbird Casting, Book Installation

The Untethered Ashes is a narrative film that tells the story of a fisherman being possessed by a ghost whose ashes travelled across the Pacific Ocean from a seashore erosion of a local cemetery on Vancouver Island.Through a blend of narrative fiction and ethnographic research, the short film is an attempt at speculative storytelling that reimagines uncharted sites and undocumented biographies lost in the historical amnesia that closely intertwines the Trans-Pacific journey of early Chinese migrants.

The fisherman, who resides in the Shandong Peninsula in China, is the descendant of local labour drafted by the British Imperial force to serve on the European frontlines during WWI. While resting on the shore where his grandfather had departed across the Pacific, the fisherman comes in contact with a ghost who still maintains fragmented memories of a Chinese migrant on Vancouver Island, who was also drafted during WWI from William Head on the island. While being possessed, the fisherman experiences hallucinations travelling to a distant land, searching for the ghost’s traces from its scattered memories. The disorientation of sites and sounds in the film paints a fictional encounter of intergenerational memories on both sides of the Pacific, paying tribute to the migrant bodies afloat, interpellated in a charged past whose traumas and turmoils still linger eerily in the landscapes we reside today.


张北辰与李彦潼合作(Tangent Collective探针小组),4K 三通道有声视频,200 厘米 x 200 厘米定制地毯,青铜蜂鸟铸件,书籍安装


在影像中,渔夫居住在中国山东半岛,他的祖先在第一次世界大战期间,作为劳工被大英帝国军队征召到欧洲前线服役。 当渔夫小憩在他祖父当年跨越太平洋离开的海岸时,接触到了一个幽灵,这个幽灵仍然保留着温哥华岛上一名中国劳工的碎片记忆,这位劳工也是在第一次世界大战期间从岛上的威廉海德征召入伍的。 渔夫前往遥远的地方,从分散的记忆中寻找幽灵的踪迹。 影片中场景和声音的迷失描绘了太平洋两岸跨代际的虚构邂逅,向那些漂浮、被纠缠在历史缝隙中的劳工致敬,他们的创伤和动荡仍然在我们居住的风景中徘徊。

The Untethered Ashes Trailer

Special thanks to:

Themed Commission – Trinity Square Video’s annual summer artist residency


加拿大 Trinity Square Video 年度夏季艺术家驻地主题委任项目