Section 1, So we keep drinking water from wells deep in the ground
I’ve organized this session with the filmworks of new, ethical stories fueled by mythology, and metaphors with multispecies perspectives. I believe in the power of symbols and metaphors. For example, let’s say if a little kid asks, “How was I born?” then none of the parents would answer like this: “Oh, Mommy and Daddy had a sexual impulse because some hormones are imprinted on our genes and it made us feel sexually urged, and we exchanged gestures, following the cultural script of behaviorism which is called sex and then you as a cell in mommy’s ovary started to divide,”. Rather they say, “Mommy and Daddy loved each other so much that a beautiful bird brought you under a bridge, and we found you there!”. (Because in Korean, the bridge sounds Darri, and the legs sound the same. They are homonyms) Is this deception? No, it’s not. I think this is an art-teaching skill. It’s about teaching a child the skill of paraphrasing a very primal state. It opens up a beautiful world of metaphors and symbols, allowing children to invent their own narratives. Because a drive itself is most of the time just pale, shabby, and ragged. When you have only drives, it’s very easy to get depressed. Satisfaction stays short. How we can find creative and beautiful metaphors for our own drives promise to enrich our desires to meet the drives. How one is able to create a beautiful metaphor of love matters. For that, we don’t need to exclude the civilizational achievement, which has been passed down from generation to generation: mythologies. Here are five works that offer rich metaphors for our fear, contempt, and love.
<Missing, when my dog can’t even come back as a Ghost> by Mooniperry, 5.20m, 2021
is a film in the form of an interview with a human who can communicate with dead animals.
<I could once speak under two moons> by Seongmin Yuk, 14.45m, 2021 is a work that questions peace by crossing the perspectives of a moth and a soldier upon a Jeju myth.
In Greek mythology, <SIRENS> by Ilaria Di Carlo, 13.22 m, 2022 are beings who seduce sailors with their sweet songs. The ‘picturesque’ landscapes, shot by helicopter over the coal mining industry, imply the inhumane myth of development.
Conception dream is the myth of the individual’s birth. <I am a horse> by Chaerin Lim, 7.58m, 2022
is a dynamic hand-drawing animation inspired by the artist’s grandmother’s tiger conception dream of her daughter and her mother’s wild horse conception dream of the author and her twins’.
The film <Upiór> by Mikolaj Sobjack, 16.34 m, 2022 traverses Polish-Ukrainian culture and German expressionist cinema to tell a story of violence, hope, identity, and memory.
Section 2: In the endowed soggy matter
The subject is not an abstract entity, but rather a material embodied one. The body is not a natural thing; on the contrary, it is a culturally coded socialized entity.
I never tire of discussing the otherness of the body. To understand the code to which ‘I’ suppose to internalize and interpret the framework, the body is objectified from within itself. An organism that runs wild with its elements–matters that are subsumed and also govern me. It resembles a semi-automatic machine that operates not only for me and over me–a schematized whole– a chaotic domain, exposed to ruination and instability, yet a sticky, slimy substance that cannot be loosed.
Artiom Zavadovsky‘s <THE FINAL COUNTDOWN>, 6.31m, 2022 depicts drag queen Red Flack backstage, preparing for a show when her phone rings, interrupting her. Through some of the sentences she utters, we witness once again how the body, perceived as that of a stranger, has to seek consent, and the position of an individual is determined by the national political situation.
Phaidonas Gialis deconstructs space-time by arranging 3D animations and found footage, capturing derailments and traffic accidents at rapid speed, and attempting to explore organic and inorganic hybrids in his work <Damaged Body> 2.26m, 2022. Inspired by Cronenberg‘s movie “Crash,” it serves as a metaphor for materials (human flesh) that meet, collide, and rupture violently.
<Nameless Syndrome> 24m, 2022 is Jeamin Cha‘s essay film, calmly explaining the concerns about the pain that medical science ignores, the technical attempts to diagnose it, and the flaws. The images of the objectified human figure formed on the reflecting surface represent the material body from which the subject is absent and overlapped with each other.
As the title suggests, Aro Han‘s <Der Ohrwurm> 16.33m, 2022 unfolds with echoes and afterimages but lacks an active medium. Fragmented incidents that linger in memory are not unveiled as truth. The character, facing dogs, corpses, and learned fear, intentionally and unknowingly artificializes them, making it completely unalive to vanquish the angst.
Florian Schmitz & Thomas Empl, spotlights a character in <Matratzen> 36.14m, 2022 who constantly exchanges mattresses. A person who spends each day recognizing discomfort in a square sanctuary, or someone who cannot rest or find peace. He is searching for a mattress that suits him, but what will it be?
Section 3: Confront, channel, and sublimate
If history shows anything, it is that there’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt—above all, because it immediately makes it seem that it’s the victim who’s doing something wrong.
– David Graeber
The concept of citizenship entails individuals being obligated to contribute to their society, even if it’s not necessarily their preference, and to adhere to the regulations and guidelines set by the society. In systems of control, we frequently witness situations where individuals are labeled as”illegal” without committing any unlawful action. We confront firmly globally established but erratic institutions, leading to the deprivation of the right to belong to a group. In response, we seek change through acts of subversion, resistance, opposition, and revolution.
<What Remains> 3,18m, 2022 is a video essay by Mohammad Sabbah, characterized by its compelling narration and interaction with images. It focuses on the words uttered by the narrator, their typography, the protest sites shouting for revolution, and several points of view surrounding them at different intervals.
<Leylet Europa> 14.39m, 2023; “The Night of Europe”, was produced through interviews with individuals like Hamida, Bashir, Saad, and Yusef who undertook a journey of 2,932 kilometers from Syria to Germany. It presents their unique but common story rather than depicting them merely as a group of refugees, a departure from Léo Beaudoin & Ronida Alsino‘s earnest intention. Unlike the mass media, which often sensationalizes images of hardships, limitations, and violence that occur during their long journey, this documentary encourages viewers to approach the story and voices without stereotyping or marginalizing.
Younggle KEEM portrays the blue-skinned Smurfs as an existing minority in the fake documentary <Blue Land> 17.22m, 2019 The film evokes the experiences of those who migrated to Seoul, Korea as construction workers for the Belgian Consulate, lived in demolition districts, and became anonymous residents in the Korean history of redevelopment.
<Piecht> 29.54mins, 2023 by Luka Lara Steffen is a fictional film that unravels the events and emotions of the main character Johanna in the idyllic village she visits with her mother, on a 4:3 screen. Horrified by the inhabitants of Piecht, who appear to resemble a pre-paramilitary and coercive community, Johanna compares the confusion arising from generational and geographic ideological differences of German contemporaries.
Section 4, I look at your lingering traces when you are filming me.
The session is organized to explore the interesting relationship between the configurations of film, and in particular the dynamic of power between the camera/camera person and the subject/performer. In most of the film/video works, normally the camera is a mediator that hides its presence like the air in collaboration with the object/performer being filmed. I invite the audiences to the moment when these creative works delay conventional perception and betray the audience’s expectations by mediating the role of mediums revealing themselves.
In <Capsule> by Carla Jordão, 8.22m, 2023, the performers stare at the camera very intensely and refuse to be simply filmed. The gestures, and the reaction to gestures between people, can be said to be a sociocultural script in the sense that there are certain inscribed patterns of behaviors. When the gestures deviate from this script, the audience is left in a state of confusion, unable to figure out whether to laugh or be serious or what expression to make to show. This experience was disconcerting yet intriguing. The skillful way of presenting the objects and performers leads the audience to a typical interpretation of them, then suddenly reverses it and makes them resist the very interpretation. The story unfolds in an unexpected way and will approach the audience as a fresh shock.
In <Liminal being> by Shuree Sarantuya, 11.44 m, 2023 the theme of nomadism is emphasized throughout the film by the mechanical, virtual camera movement that flies over places repeatedly. The locations seem to exist but at the same time to be somewhere, no one has yet been. It is unclear whether the dwellings, which are decorated like game engine sets, have inhibitors or not. The invisible subject that cannot easily access them due to an error of one’s computer, but keeps trying. The camera movement that flies across to get close to the “homes” but never settles down from its bird’s eye view, will make audiences confused whether these places are desirable or not.
Usually in performance documentation films, the camera person runs after the performer to capture one’s movements. But in <Agnes> by Julia Franken, Julia Riera,10.2m, 2021 the handheld camera is a creature, engaging in a sensory dialog with the performer. The camera as a creature approaches a performer cautiously first, and then it switches its attitude aggressively, sometimes casting a worried glance to the performer and then making a gesture as if sniffing the performer. The performer runs away from the camera-creature’s gaze or reversely allows their body to become an object of observation. This relationship between the performer and the camera-creature, which is an entanglement of active and passive, leads the audience to ask interesting questions about performance film.
Would this image be how a camera sees the landscape? <Pollen_decrease> by Jeayoung Koh, 3.15m, 2022 begins with an abstract image of pollen in a still landscape, its path beautifully painted within the frame. The shutter speed of the camera and the speed of the wind blowing the pollen through the air create the beautiful white dotted lines in the scope together. The lines gradually disappear, opening up the space of the landscape that humans are accustomed to seeing at the end.
<Gérard Lucas> by Hani Gimna, 16.58m, 2023 shows how the mediating role of the mediums of language, camera, and an artificial intelligence image generator can become the protagonists of the film. Rather than language as a medium for conveying meaning, the shape, sound, and rhythm of words take priority over. Ai’s endless production of similar yet different images, camera operators that film each other in a two-channel co-relationship, choreographed camera movements, and camera functions such as shifting focus and framing no longer serve as mediators but produce content for themselves.
In <Ich stehe ferne> by Takashi Sonoda, 9m, 2023 the artist himself, leisurely sipping tea, comes up to the camera and blows his breath into the lens, blurring it that is capturing him. The artist’s intriguing refusal to fulfill the audience’s desire to see everything clearly through the camera reduces them to objects whose desires are observed by the artist.
1 P. 238, Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic subjects, embodiment and sexual diffrence in contemborarz feminist theory, columbia university press, 1994
3 P.16, David Graeber, Debt – Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years, Melville House, 2014