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Holli Xue

cocoon head.jpeg

Holli Xue (b. 1996, they/them) is a visual storyteller who weaves subtle feelings into lived reality, collecting evidence on behalf of the uncelebrated. Formerly a videographer and documentarian, they mix the factual and the imaginary, the seen and the unexpressed, questioning the construction of stories from the inside.


The experimental narrative documentary brings together video recordings spanning five years, merging documented events from pre-pandemic and pandemic state control. It incorporates a performance piece responding to the filmmaker's traumatic memories of this period. The spectacle, a passive reaction to the hostile environment, expresses fear and
non-cooperation with the state apparatus. Deprived of decision-making power and mobility, the filmmaker anchors his existence in a cocoon that is both metaphorical and physical, like an incarnation
of political depression. It invites the audience to think about how an arbitrary capitalist system treats the vulnerable and discouraged, and to question the possibility of an alternative future.


In 2018, I pursued a master's degree in the UK. The PSW visa, allowing international students to stay for 2 years after graduation, was reinstated the following year. Unfortunately, I was unable to benefit from it, which forced my departure in early 2020, amid strict COVID-induced border controls in my home country. This trip marked the beginning of my stationary existence, stuck between physical boundaries and my state of mind. I hid, in a cocoon and adrift, going nowhere. Extremely restrictive mobility policies have denied me access to options in life. It was only through public outcry and rebellion that I regained access to options. The cocoon is a metaphorical safe space that I created for myself, imagining a state of being that is indifferent, detached, and moving toward transformation.

Returning to the UK the following year, I was on a new visa, recently introduced, to escape the trauma and immobility. Yet, in a border system where immigration is a commercial enterprise, how far will this capitalized mobility take me? My cocoon is on the verge of metamorphosis, without knowing what awaits it.

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