IMAGE OF THE DARK
(Single channel video, duration: 13â€™32, canvas, transcripts and 5 audio recordings of storytelling sessions, 2014)
While audiences in Europe went hysterical at the sight of an onrushing train during the very first film screenings, audiences in Southeast Asia remained unalarmed. The latter explained as a result of the regionâ€™s long history in animistic â€˜screen cultureâ€™ (shadow puppetry, wayang kulit, etc.). Image of the Dark is in many ways an echo of those initial encounters with cinema â€“ an emblem of modernity - within the Southeast Asian region. A reminder that modernity and animism were not always incompatible, despite the former giving way in the shifts towards modernity in the past centuries.
The film draws a connection to the live storytelling sessions organised by the artist in Manila, where invited Filipino filmmakers retold Filipino films as stories orally. Including the film Lukas the Strange by Filipino filmmaker John Torres, which was screened in the forest. In enacting the traditional oral storytelling format in a modern gallery, while displacing the modern version of the story (cinema) in a primeval forest, Image of the Dark juxtaposes the time and space of these different sites of knowledge. Thus examining the way history and culture constructs our relationship with reality.
Produced as part of a residency organised by the Art Incubator and hosted by Green Papaya Art Projects in Manila, Philippines.
Video excerpt: https://vimeo.com/143025453
For full video: https://vimeo.com/86872097