Movement for Two Grannies

Video and production stills of the video shoot, on location at Strathcona Community Centre, Vancouver.

Movement for Two Grannies
10-second video

I was commissioned in 2011 by producer OnMain, with curator Paul Wong, to contribute to a series for the City of Vancouver in celebration of Vancouver's 125th birthday, by designing a 10-second work for the monitors found at the rapid transit Skytrain stations; I created Movement for Two Grannies. 

The series by OnMain curated eight Vancouver artists: Dana Claxton, Michael Turner, James Yan, Laiwan, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Chelsea O'Brian, Tony Pantages and Douglas Coupland addressing a variety of subjects and ideas about place, Vancouver history, motion, textuality, speed, sports culture, and technology within the 10-second advertising format. 




Movement For Two Grannies is an ethereal work of cinematography that features two Chinese grannies engaged in a moment of intimate and affectionate friendship. Shot on green screen, the backlit grannies are placed against a shimmering flow — oceanic, vast and expansive, rippling with an ancient lineage. The scene is surreal, sensual and serene, unlike the environment of the Canada Line Skytrain Stations. The slow movements of the grannies are in sharp contrast to the function of Light Rapid Transit systems designed to move commuters efficiently, spaces not user-friendly for our grannies. Here, Laiwan proposes an endearing rendition of a 10-second action movie, unhurried and cherished.

"For the 125th birthday of Vancouver, I celebrate my elders with Movement For Two Grannies. With tenacity, endurance, resilience and humour they move forward passing on values and ethics, rituals and philosophies, through daily movements that ripple out beyond Vancouver. Their legacy and lineage are the foundations of a strong, vibrant cultural community in Chinatown. Dedicated to the spirit and life of my grandmother and all grandmothers for their everyday endurance and persistence despite our cultural and social neglect of elders" (Laiwan, 2011).


Cinematography and Effects Director: John Fukushima
Strathcona Community Centre Seniors Group, participating two grannies: Sau Ching Choi 蔡秀清, and Chun Chan 陳珍.
Assistant choreographer: Sharon Bayly