Musquiqui Chihying

(Taipei, 1985)

The Camera (36), 2016

Video HD, Single Channel.
1 min.

Olympia, one of the most prestigious propaganda film produced by German director Leni Riefenstahl, documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Despite its controversial political intention, the film is still seen as an influential and innovative work in the film history. Many critics consider the film is the praise of Nazi’s dignity, while they can’t deny that the director also show the same respect to those non-European athletes, including Jesse Owens and Sohn Kee-chung. As Korea was controlled by Japanese Empire at the time, when Sohn won the gold medal in the marathon, he was actually a member of the Japanese delegation. For rejecting his colonial nationality, Sohn intentionally hided the “Hinomaru” on his shirt — the symbol of Japanese flag while the Japanese anthem played during the award ceremony, and the movement was also recorded in Riefenstahl’s film. The film shooting of the Olympic game can be seen as a construction of national consciousness, either for NS German or those athletes who bear national symbol on their tunics. As a filmed object, Sohn tried to return the dominant narrating power of camera by hiding the national flag, turned a passive body into an active image in Riefenstahl’s film. The Camera (36) attempts to maintain this capacity of power reversing, by remaking a fictional documentary in the Olympiastadion Berlin. Through Sohn’s perspective, the work envisions how Riefenstahl made her famous shot during the performance of Japanese anthem.