Chan, PaulBorn 1973, China/Hong Kong
Lives in New York
IN THE GALLERY
Untitled ... is a video portrait of longtime defense lawyer and activist Lynne Stewart. In 2005, Stewart was convicted on charges that she provided support to terrorists by conspiring to smuggle messages out of prison from her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. Straightforward, documentary-style scenes feature Stewart discussing her prosecution and what she views as its implications for fundamental democratic rights. These talking-head sequences alternate with cross fading color fields that fill the screen when Stewart recites poetry, a strategy she often employed in court.
For Chan, Stewart’s case demonstrates how the state takes dissidents who operate in the name of democracy, and redefines them as traitors who need to be silenced. Through its circulation on the Internet (it can be downloaded for free), Chan’s work is aimed at countering the state’s mechanisms of exclusion and reintroducing the “dissident” into the circuits of representation.