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Feature: RT @ APT3 & MAAP99


Notes and imprints

Julainne Sumich


Some notes from a participating filmmaker on MAAP Screenings.

Sick and Dizzy: “I love my country’s sky”— bleached by overexposure, Love a video by Dave Keung Hung, at first practices facetious facials of ‘give us a kiss’. Through pure persistence he breaks down spectator resistance and breaks you up through the jingoistic fervor of the soundtrack’s loop. Faces out of whack dissolve to others equally engaged in this ‘little bit we know about love.’

Self-Made Cinema: Mark Chan’s Happy Valley recalls the multiple screens and extradiegetic voice of Godard’s TV and questions of love and identity in Resnais and Duras Hiroshima mon Amour. It’s a bittersweet critique of ‘real estate’ life in the city through the affectionate perspective of Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

In Differences do Matter Anson Mak pans her singing voice from her speaking voice through separate channels. Via technology she re-presents herself in the metaphors of linguistic differences and their concomitant constructs of identity.

Hong Kong Road Movie by Makin Fung is a series of shifting terrains to the throb of a slow flute on soundtrack—landscape whitens on the road going back/going to. The past tense ‘does anyone remember...’ folds over the present tense ‘it’s my birthday...’ over the future tense ‘next week?’ The tension of these troubled times is wrapped up in signs of prohibition and electronic mail two.system@one.country

dLux media arts’ collection D.art projects heterotopias of multimedia practice. In Isabelle Hayeur’s Si jamais la mer digital fx take on biblical proportions in the parting of the sea. A bird’s-eye-view tracks receding shorelines in this time of global warming. ‘If ever the sea’ floods the memory with wasted lands—a memento mori for a global warning on a world at war with itself. As if a scriptural omen on ‘the fire next time’, Hayeur’s work fits with the crackle of D.art’s logo flickering between the works.
The Anemone collection from Imago ripples its interstices with reflective light. The closing days of the 20th century are marked by an acuteness of vision, melancholic humour, and dark beauty. This ‘post’ age of the circuitry of the ‘client’ meets its match in Peter Circuitt’s Post, an animated assemblage of cheap photocopied identities and remaindered yet feisty robots who get in each other’s way. It’s the old private eye routine but this entropic parody has the worldweariness you get from being trapped in the shutters where film noir’s shades clank like worn out projectors.

Rapt is a wrap-up of body bits in virtual space (like ‘Eve’, the homeless woman whose body’s been digitally spliced in service of USA scientific data). Both rapturous and fraught with anonymity Justine Cooper’s imaging scans oscillate with a magnetic resonance between a heaven’s gate spirituality and the black hole of the Despot.

The Anemone collection has many moments of persuasive beauty—from Kim McGlynn’s full-bloom ‘through-the-flower’ sensibility in Eulogy (post debts to Judy Chicago /Georgia O’Keefe) to Dominic Redfern’s Please Wait Here his wandering camera eye searching for something exquisite at the margins of TV’s dross chirpiness “I know how tiring it can be”. Vikki Wilson’s work March-Riever recalls Kristeva’s notion of ‘thetis’—the traversal of borders, and the abject (examined by Barbara Creed in Screen on ‘The Monstrous Feminine’ via Kristeva’s Powers of Horror). Moods of negativity are privileged in dark-stained poetic abstractions of image and readings from Beowulf and Lautreamont transcending time and space. Such a ‘flick’ renders the legitimacy of film problematic, tracing the defacing mark, scratching the surface of the symbolic’s material real.

In Strange Stories curated by Kim Machan David Cox’s Other Zone and Feng Mengbo’s Q3 sit edgily alongside my own film Happiness where the belly of the artist’s gut instinct hangs out in virtual space waiting for alternative developments in the contaminated architecture of screen culture; a waiting room evocatively entered by Joyce Campbell’s Bloom.

Q3 by Feng Mengbo (China) opens with plainsong of Gregorian chant and afterfx simulating B&W scratch film that sets a mood of artificiality and plaintive beauty, a beauty abruptly terminated as Q3 launches into the speed-of-light Sim Life whose POV is down a gunbarrel playing merry hell through the heavenly boys’ own world of GI Joes and Bombay Bandits. Cox’s Other Zone counteracts such wishful Neuromancers with his Molly-type heroine who passes through red silk interfaces to commune with Mother Moon—in the process getting waylaid by the prosthetic Master Stelarc a wannabe Gary Oldman lost in space. From Korea, Young-Hae Chang’s The Samsung Project (Samsung means to come) succeeds simply through text to convey the erotic and comic moments in mother-in-law’s kitchen to a soundtrack that’s jazz!


Self-Made Cinema, Sick and Dizzy and D.art99, State Library Theatrette, September 4; Anemone and Strange Stories, Queensland Art Gallery LectureTheatre, September 5

RealTime issue #34 Dec-Jan 1999 pg.

© Julainne Sumich; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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