The Revolution Will Not Be Air-conditioned
Release year: 2022
Run time: 27 mins
Film type: Documentary
The title of this work was borrowed from social media comments in the midst of the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition protest, which originally references Black civil rights activist Gil Scott-Heron’s iconic 1971 poem The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The images of clashes between protestors and police in Hong Kong have constituted the most sensational memories of global turmoil in the last phase of pre-Covid age, which occurred, peculiarly, often against the backdrop of air-conditioned shopping malls. Taking this phenomenon as its point of departure, the work traces the architectural evolution of these retail complexes. Drawing from a range of historical references—including the Crystal Palace, built for the 1851 Great Exhibition in London; 19th-century terrarium prototypes used in the British Empire’s botanical trade; and 20th-century corporate salesforce training videos—the work reflects on how the mall as a spatial form evolved from its colonial root of conquest to a machine of consumerism and social control. Yet, The Revolution Will Not Be Air-Conditioned also pays close attention to how the intended outcomes of spatial design can be subverted, turning such insulated and sanitised spaces into a ground for political action and dissent.
Bo WANG is an artist, filmmaker and researcher based in the Netherlands. His works have been exhibited internationally, including venues like the Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York, Garage Museum in Moscow, Rotterdam Film Festival in the Netherlands, CPH: DOX in Denmark, Visions du Réel in Switzerland, among many others. His work An Asian Ghost Story won the New: Vision awards at CPH: DOX 2023. He received a fellowship from the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in 2013 and was an artist-in-residency at ACC-Rijksakademie 2017-2018 and NTU CCA in 2016.