Ming Wong is an artist from Singapore who often works in the gaps between cinema and his personal life. In his own words, or at least the words of his website, he explores “the performative veneers of language and identity, through his own ‘world cinema’.” Practically speaking, this might involve Wong imitating scenes from Fassbinder’s “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” (1972) as he does in his “Lerne Deutsch Mit Petra von Kant / Learn German with Petra von Kant” project. The instructional character of this project seems at first disingenuous but really what better way to learn a language and culture than to take the mimesis to it’s logical extreme.
Similarly his recreation of a scene from Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” (2000) entails casting a “caucasian actress from New Zealand” to speak in Cantonese and mime the original emotionality of the scene. Such intentional miscasting and confusion of genders and ethnicity forces the question of identity. For me too, it begs the question how I might stutter through such a scene in Cantonese. And perhaps even more directly it leads me to question what films I might try to mimic, what cinema runs parallel to my life.