Aged 19, Kai ran away from home, and began living life on the run.
London: All Change!
Kai’s first stop was London. London being London, transformed her. She explored all media, including 16mm film, Super 8mm film, text, performance (because I could, because it wasn’t banned in London). And everything else. Her work was a means to interpret and map reality; they were also a means to question art and meaning (being at the Slade!). Her forerunners were many many, including Beckett, Chris Marker, Godard, Kubelka, Avant Garde cinema, Structuralist films, Nauman, EM Cioran, Bach, Beethoven, Glenn Gould, Camus, Kathy Acker, Bukowski, Sterne, Swift, Herzog, Tarkovsky, Pasolini, Brecht, Monty Python, trip hop, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Barthes, Beauvoir, Sartre. And my personal tutor performance artist Professor Stuart Brisley.
ALL CHANGE!!! SFIFF Golden Gate Award
Kai’s film trilogy featuring All Change!!! was a major output from this period. She was fascinated by the new world (order/disorder) of the ‘wild wild west’ when I first arrived. In particular, she found street protests and public gatherings exotic, and filmed them. She edited this trilogy of cine-essays in 3 distinct styles, but used images and sounds from the same archive. The films could be watched independently as shorts, or together as an extended cine-essay totalling 45 minutes. Kai wanted to question the value between art/reality/change. She was especially influenced by Marker, Godard, and Eisenstein. She employed a classical actor Declan Conlon to do the voiceover. All Change!!! won an award at the San Francisco International Documentary Film Festival 1999.
mud hypertext, 1997
Yet, even when she was living in London, Kai was (still) restless. Hence she ventured online with a large-scale hypertext work, called mY uNOFFICIAL dUMPINGGROUND. Those were the early days of the internet, as you may tell from the aesthetics. The work was not just an archive of her text works, but a self-reflexive exploration of the medium. She generated a multitude of hyperlinks connecting subjects in ways sometimes logical, but mostly absurd. The intention was for the audience to click endlessly and hence, travel, virtually, restlessly, and ‘end up’ in surprising sites that extrapolate from or digress away from where they started. Content-wise, the writing dealt with the gamut of sex (a kind of hyper sexual hypertext), snort, sweat and suppression, with a youthful anger, energy and urgency that makes the mature, sophisticated artist that she’s become today think: ‘did I do that?’ followed variously by ‘wow’, eyes rolling and stomach cramping in embarrassment/shame. Created in 1997, the work was censored when proposed for the summer exhibition at the Slade. The story was covered in the Time Higher Education in 1998.