Chen Chieh-jen

- [Juror’s Statement]

In this time when we are all subject to the empire’s pervasive control technology, contemporary filmmakers and video artists can first of all follow the example of the Sujiang Monks and deconstruct the sorcery and illusions that the empire employs. The practice of cinematic production can also be like organizing lo-deh sao; laborers eliminated by automation, temporary contract workers controlled by algorithms, immaterial labor that is being replaced by AI, and those with dissenting opinions who have been forced to the margins can all gather together and construct a platform where they can create scenes, become performers, and make their voices heard. In this way, professional and amateur members of the production team can continually interact. The works they produce should fall somewhere between being silent and having sound, or may even be completely silent to leave room for both participating performers and active audience members to add their own imaginations and narrations. Contemporary films or videos would serve not merely as objects for observation, but also as catalysts prompting events that continually expand their significance.

Chen Chieh-jen

Born in 1960 in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Starting in 2010, began actively focusing on the fact that many people around the world have been reduced to working temporary jobs and lost their sense of existence due to the corporatocracy’s pervasive control technology. Chen calls this universal situation “global imprisonment” or “at-home exile.” Based on these ruminations, Chen has considered how pervasive control technology can be qualitatively changed by transforming desire with alternative forms of desire and detoxifying illusion with māyā. Recent film works include his Realm of Reverberations and Her and Her Children series.

Worn Away

TAIWAN / 2022-2023 / Mandarin, Hakka, Taiwanese Minnan / Color, B&W / DCP / 69 min

- Director, Script: Chen Chieh-jen
Photography: Chien Ming-chi
Editing: Chen Chien-ping
Sound: Li Yu-chih
Cast: Li Cheng-hao, Chen Yueh-chiao, Chen Shao-tang, Tsai Hsiu-ju, Cheng Chih-chung, Hsu Yi-ting
Producers: Chen Chieh-yi, Chen Tsung-chin
Production Companies: Taiwan Public Television Service, Chen Chieh-jen Studio
Source: Chen Chieh-jen Studio

The film depicts a corporatocracy dystopia in which a neoliberal regime of multinational corporations governs society, bringing suffering. Under the rule of this globe-wide empire, the unemployed, psychiatric patients, as well as those who have either little faith in society or advocate views contrary to the mainstream, are increasingly excluded and are brought to a place called the Transit Area via the Biofunction Optimization Support Program. These outcasts are trapped in a labyrinthine space created by the system where they can only wait to be expended in biological experiments. These supposedly worthless people slowly commence to dismantle reality and the system’s lie of a bright future through both inner monologues and vocal utterances.