A “science fiction documentary” made with Filipino workers in Hong Kong.
“Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso” (“Come to Me, Paradise”) (2016) is a “science fiction documentary” directed by artist Stephanie Comilang that was made in collaboration with and featuring Filipina migrant workers who work in Hong Kong. Workers Irish May Salinas, Lyra Ancheta Torbela, and Romylyn Presto Sampaga occupy the spaces in Central, Hong Kong usually designated for finance and banking, turning them to spaces of comfort where they relax over food, drinks, manicures, prayer, and dance. The film is narrated from the perspective of Paraiso, a "ghost”played by a “drone” who speaks of the isolation from being uprooted and thrown into a new place. Paraiso’s reprieve comes when she is finally able to interact with the women and feel her purpose, which is to transmit their vlogs, photos, and messages back home. Only when the women gather en masse is the signal strong enough to summon Paraiso to them for download. The voice of Paradise the drone is voiced by Comilang’s mother Emily, who migrated to Canada in the 1970s. During the week she is forced back into isolation and is left in an existential rut.
“Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso” uses Hong Kong’s dystopian maze-like structures that the Filipina migrants re-imagine, and focuses on the beauty of care-giving but also explores how technology is used as a pivotal way for the women to connect — to each other but also to loved ones. Raising questions around modern isolation, economic migration and the role of public space in both urban and digital forms, the film transcends its various component parts to offer a startling commentary on the present, from the point of view of the future.
Following the screening will be a conversation with the director Stephanie Comilang.
The conversation will be conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation to Cantonese available.
Stephanie Comilang is a Filipina-Canadian artist based in Toronto and Berlin. Her documentary-based works create narratives that reexamine notions of mobility and the migratory paths of labour on a global scale. Her work has been shown at Artspeak (Vancouver), Images Festival (Toronto), Ghost: 2561 (Bangkok), Asia Art Archive in America (New York), SALTS (Basel), and UCLA (Los Angeles).