No Power to Push Up the Sky
No Power to Push Up the Sky takes its name from a literal translation of the slogan 23-year-old student leader Chai Ling wrote on her clothes during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. In an interview conducted in Beijing on May 28, 1989, one week before the massacre, Chai Ling recalls this expression of the students' sense of helplessness. For the video, fifteen people spontaneously translate excerpts of the original Chinese interview into spoken English. The video also features running headlines from major and marginal Western newspapers and journals that chronicle the Tiananmen Square events. Both forms of translation demonstrate the complex process of locating meaning across language, culture, and politics. By positioning translation as an interpretive act, the video points to the subjective motivations underlying any understanding and narrativization of history.