What is Asia?

Happy Family Night Market


Kiana Hubert-Low

33 min., 2018, France & United States, color, digital video Languages: Cantonese, French, English

Autumn 2017. I hear about the fires in North California where my father lives. From where I live, France, I fear that everything disappears. While paying him a visit, I try to understand our bond over our differences and how immigration affected it. What remains of this fire?

Raised by a white French mother in France, I’ve never lived with my Asian American father. Nevertheless, we established a strong bond despite the distance, the cultural differences and the scarcity of the visits.

From the time I spent as a kid in my grandparents’ house in California, I have vivid memories. Afterwards, every time I came back to the US, I could see more and more that the culture they came from was showing up in the way they lived and decorated their home, in this intertwining of Chinese and American furniture.

In 2017, the context of the fires resonated in me as a remote emergency fear, as a catastrophe that I didn’t experience myself but which affected my family directly that I saw as a metaphor both for the immigration of my grandparents and for the separation of my parents.

So, through this documentary project I wanted to talk to my relatives about the way we see each other depending on what culture and what country we’re from, what position in the diaspora we occupy, and what position in the family we embody.

Moreover I wanted to express through images and sound how I felt as a foreigner and a daughter. This work was a way of expressing how, despite my lack of familiarity, I could still observe, have projections upon the reality of the territory and create a personal bond to Chinese American culture.

Because this diaspora feeling isn’t easy to articulate with words, I think cinema can be a sensitive language to translate and transmit our inner emotions.

Kiana Hubert-Low was born in Bordeaux, France, and lives and works between Marseille and Healdsburg, California. A visual artist, filmmaker, and performer, Hubert-Low attended Paris National School of Decorative Arts, Hangzhou China Academy of Arts, and Lussas Documentary Cinema School. She uses autobiographical writing to tackle the representation of intimacy, and explores the cultural influences she inherited from France, USA, and China through still and moving images, drawing, and performance.


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