USA, 2015, HD Video, 6min
Written, directed and edited by Althea Rao
Dancer Long Cheng (Beijing, China) came to the US in 2014 to start her MFA in Dance at Temple University. No longer affected by the Chinese internet regulation, Long was able to use Facebook for the first time. Her first status was posted on August 14, 2014, in English.
Facebook/Body Talks tells the story of Long Cheng through presenting a compilation of her first semester Facebook timeline. Two native English speakers voiced her status chronologically, occasionally confused by Long's imperfect English. As Long struggled to use this unfamiliar language to communicate about her life and to create the social media persona she intended for her non-Chinese friends to see, the native English speakers had to consult their American experience to decipher what Long meant with her choice of words and grammar.
The project also explores the tension between the body's autonomy and the assumed authenticity of its mediated image, calling attention to the complex relationship of collaboration and manipulation between the dancer and the filmmaker, manifested throughout the filming, editing and viewing process.