Screening Jan van Eyck Academie
Around the Fire
Matthew C. Wilson
Ellie Kyungran Heo
In the screening program, “Around the Fire”, at the Jan van Eyck Academy, six films are shown by current and former participants of the Multiple Institute for Visual Arts, Design and Reflection. In these six works, stories are told that each cite an approach to the overarching theme of “migration” in their own way. The idea of ”the other” is reflected in every film, either with emphasis on being different or denying another and the contradiction between them and us.
The lack of a legitimate asylum procedure in Hello, Tel Aviv shows a fight against the denial of refugees within a society in which they are trying to integrate. This political approach to the other is also discussed in No Fear in Texas, where border policy in the southern states of the U.S.A is associated with fear culture.
The fear of the other contributes to the formation of national identity politics and superiority complex. In Field Notes, images pass by that investigate the relationship between colonialism, science, and modernism. The impact of colonialism is reflected in Seni in which the perspective of the periphery and its relationship to a Western context are questioned.
Seeing and experiencing the other, or the exotic is also a driver for migration and tourism. Visiting, experiencing, and returning home. The homebody and traveler are brought together in Island and put into a sharp dialogue, just like the rightful resident and the stray, human and non-human. Far, From where we came explores how relocation can sharpen relationships and connection in fictional family relationships and documentation of actual journeys made.
Matthew C. Wilson, Field Notes, 2018. 11:19 min. Near-infrared UHD video.
Field Notes traces a trajectory of shifting horizons and frontiers of space-time to other dimensions, both vastly distant astronomical measurement, and vastly small quantum measurement. Taken together the fragments of “field notes” suggest measurement is a step towards the colonial desire to access, claim, and transform previously inaccessible territories. With it comes the likelihood that even with “purely scientific” motivations, the regime of modernity will be imposed.
Kent Chan, Seni, 2018-2019. 30:38 min.
Colonialism and modernity, tropics and the arts. In 1955, Ho Kok Hoe, then president of the Singapore Art Society made a months-long journey to the UK, Europe, and the US. An artist and architect of local repute. Curatorial legend has it that he embarked on the journey with over 200 pieces of artworks by him and 6 other Singaporean artists. His search for an exhibition venue began only upon his arrival in London, which by some minor miracle culminated in the first exhibition of Singaporean art in Europe.
Taking the Malay word ‘seni’ (the closest word approximating the meaning of art in the Western context) as the premise in the unfolding of the film’s narrative amidst the environ of the tropics.
Ellie Kyungran Heo, Island, 2015. 28:35 min.
Island features an island located at the southern-most point of South Korea, one small enough that it takes but an hour to traverse its circumference. On the island, there are two extremely contrasting atmospheres, from crowded hordes to hours of emptiness. This contrast emphasizes its sense of place as an island, both geographically and psychologically. Island sheds light on the lives of some of the residents of the island, and the questions “where are you now?”, “why are you here?” and “what happened to you?” will be put to the subjects of the film, the audience, and the director herself.
Giulio Squillacciotti, Far, From where we came, 2008. 7:46 min.
In Far, From where we came the fictitious story of a family is told through 54 found pictures collected in two years between Turkey and Spain. An achievable narrative stands in the juxtaposition of images from different times and contexts, the tale leads them to a commonplace. Resurrecting material that contains a particular potency to draw a narrative cycle leading to history, contaminated mythology and altered states of a never existed family.
Tatiana Istomina, No Fear in Texas, 2015-18. 13:41 min.
No Fear in Texas is based on multiple conversations recorded in Texas in 2015, as part of ‘Scary Stories’project. The recordings mark a unique moment in time: the country on the brink of tremendous political and cultural shift that was to come with the election of President Trump in 2016. The piece traces psychological and emotional indicators pointing towards this shift, unthinkable as it was at the time when the conversations took place.
Dana Venezia – Hello, Tel Aviv?, 2018.
Three Sudanese asylum seekers are sent on a journey to southern Israel to charge the damaged antennas of ´Radio Rampa´ with energy from the sun. On their way, they pass by Israel’s detention facility and from there continue to complete their mission.
Both days 11:00 – 17:00 Jan van Eyck Academie Academieplein 1