2024-04-07 . . . 2024-04-21


James T. Hong


For the final edition of Onsen Confidential, Empty Gallery is pleased to share space with Misako & Rosen; Tokyo, with a solo presentation of works by James T. Hong, from his series The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend, 2020. Misako & Rosen are showing photographs by Motoyuki Daifu, and Kristina Kite Gallery is presenting works by Dean Sameshima and Jasper Marsalis.

The exhibition will be on view from April 7 through April 21, 2024.
Opening reception: April 7, 2-5PM

A country’s ability to project soft power can be directly measured by the power of its media, in particular its movie industry. That industry must also be a diverse one, and a telling sign of this is the production of science fiction films. China’s movie industry, while growing immensely in recent years, still cannot match the power of Hollywood, and China has only recently begun releasing science fiction epics. Taiwan’s movie industry has never produced an epic science fiction film. This project aims to be that film.

It consists in a series of concept art storyboards for a speculative science fiction film set in the near future entitled The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend. The film presents a military conflict in Taiwan which involves forces from China, the USA, Japan, Taiwan, and other nations. The movie follows diverse characters including a teenage girl who becomes separated from her family during the chaos of resistance and battle. Her character arc goes from an optimistic, skillful, and agile hero to a broken-down survivor who eventually acquiesces to defeat.

Since this film project is technically in pre-production, the narrative is still being finalized. In fact, the final edit of the finished movie might not reflect the working or shooting scripts, so all scenes at the moment are tentative. In this pre-production phase, the storyboards will reflect possible divergent and converging narratives and scenarios. In other words, as in any movie production, the story can and will change. The storyboards reflect possible ideas, not hardened realities.

Furthermore, given that the exhibit presents only a limited number of storyboards, many story beats are missing. Viewer will be called upon to imaginatively construct a fuller and more complete narrative. Can one make sense of a world with only bits and pieces of information and experience? We do so everyday.