(Single channel video installation, duration: 13’32, canvas, transcripts and 5 audio recordings of storytelling sessions, 2014)
Encounters with art often seem like a moment of fiction. Produced as part of a residency organised by the Art Incubator in Manila, Philippines and hosted by Green Papaya Art Projects. Image of the Dark examines the evolution and role that storytelling play in the construction and understanding of a culture.
While audiences in Europe went hysterical at the sight of an onrushing train during the initial screenings of the first sequence of moving images ever, audiences in Southeast Asia remained unalarmed. The latter explained as a result of the region’s long history in ‘screen culture’ (shadow puppetry, wayang kulit, etc.). Image of the Dark is in many ways an echo of those initial encounters with cinema – an emblem of modernity - within the Southeast Asian region. It is 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. This includes 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.