All works will be screened in a loop during opening hours, Tuesday – Sunday, 12.00 – 7.00pm.
14 May – 19 May 2019: Kiri Dalena, From the Dark Depths, 2017
21 May – 26 May 2019: Kiri Dalena, Red Saga, 2004
28 May – 9 June 2019: Nguyen Trinh Thi, Vietnam the Movie, 2015
11 June – 23 June 2019: Nguyen Trinh Thi, Fifth Cinema, 2018
25 June – 7 July 2019 (except 28 – 30 June): Munem Wasif, Kheyal, 2015–18
9 July – 17 July 2019: Munem Wasif, Machine Matter, 2017
This screening series features artist films and video works that examine the socio-political and environmental effects colonisation and industrialisation have had on how we frame and perceive places and histories. Artists explore the realities of constructing a new identity amidst changing borders, overwritten cultures, and blurred lines of fact or fiction. The screening series includes works by artists Kiri Dalena (Philippines), Nguyen Trinh Thi (Vietnam), and Munem Wasif (Bangladesh). Each work will be shown for a period of one to two weeks on loop during opening hours.
14 May – 19 May 2019
From the Dark Depths, Kiri Dalena, 2017, 27 min
Based on the true story of the drowning of a young activist, Dalena’s film From The Dark Depths opens with a beautiful and surreal sequence underwater in which a woman dances slowly brandishing a red flag. Around her, many red flags are planted in the seabed. This hypnotic and captivating dream is shuttered by sequences with authentic 16mm, analogue, and digital video footage from the artist’s own archive. This includes documentation of political unrest spanning two decades and an ominous long-track of a police car at night prompting the citizens to respect the curfew—a gloomy reminder of a lost freedom.
Kiri Dalena will be in conversation with artist and filmmaker Lucy Raven and curator Philippe Pirotte on 14 May 2019, 7.00 – 8.30pm, as part of the public programme of Arus Balik – From below the wind to above the wind and back again. Details of the programme here.
21 May – 26 May 2019
Red Saga, Kiri Dalena, 2004, 15 min
Red Saga (2004), recounts the intense armed hostility towards radical individuals and serves as a call for sustained uprising. Amidst scenes of children faithfully guarding the last harvest from thieves, a red flag is waved with movements building in vigor and determination with each act of silenced injustice. This poetic film offers a glimpse into the passion and pain of the people’s protracted war in the Philippine countryside.
28 May – 9 June 2019
Vietnam the Movie, Nguyen Trinh Thi, 2015, 45min
Vietnam the Movie uses a carefully structured montage of clips from drama and documentary films to give a chronological account of Vietnamese history from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, encompassing the end of French colonialism and the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. The excerpts chosen contrast a variety of external and often oppositional views, ranging from mainstream Hollywood drama to European art-house. Source material from the United States includes Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July, and Forrest Gump, whilst Europe is represented by the works of Harun Farocki, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, and Jean-Luc Godard. Nguyen also inserts extracts from the films of Nagisa Oshima, Satyajit Ray, and Ann Hui. This technique suggests that any “true” picture of Vietnam has been lost to the multiplicity of symbolic purposes to which the country, its people, and their tribulations have been put. Nguyen’s re-situated selection and collection of archival material offers the viewer an alternative memory and recollection of history.
11 June – 23 June 2019
Fifth Cinema, Nguyen Trinh Thi, 2018, 56 min
Foregoing voice in favour of the written wordand juxtaposing moving images of the filmmaker’s own daughter with archival images of Vietnamese women seen through the lens of the “ship’s officers”, Fifth Cinemaslowly leads the viewer through a narrative of colonialism, indigeneity, and cinematic limitations in representation. The film’s text – by Maori filmmaker Barry Barclay, who coined the term “Fourth Cinema” to distinguish Indigenous cinema from the established “First, Second, and Third Cinema” framework– provides structure to Nguyen’s hybrid essay film that moves on multiple cinematic and topical terrains.Fifth Cinema premiered at The 9th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art in 2018.
25 June – 7 July 2019
Kheyal, Munem Wasif, 2015–18, 23 min 34 sec
Kheyal follows four characters through the streets of Old Dhaka in Bangladesh. The title is derived from the Arabic word “Khyal” or “Khayal,” meaning fiction or imagination. The film captures the enigmatic environments and unique identities inhabiting the historic city. Wasif describes his film as a work of magic realism, where the lone characters are “lost in certain mental states and found in other magical situations.” The film shifts between real and imagined narratives, navigating between the conscious and subconscious, and reveals the very different rhythm of life that inhabits the old city. Kheyal was produced with the support of Bengal Foundation and first shown at The 9th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art in 2018.
7 – 17 July 2019
Machine Matter, Munem Wasif, 2017, 14 min 5 sec
Wasif examines the death of the jute industry in Bangladesh and the destruction of the livelihoods the “golden fibre” once supported. Until the mid-20th century, the jute industry was strong in the Indian subcontinent as jute twine was employed to package the world’s cotton, grains, coffee, sugar, and cement. However, with the shift of power from East Bengal to Pakistan after the partition in 1947, the jute industry began to generate most of the income for the new state, diverting profits away from small stakeholders in East Bengal and leaving factories without work. Using still frames, the artist captures an abandoned jute mill and the former workers who ran the machines—the union of man and machine that formed the heart of a major industry.
Kiri Dalena (Philippines) is an acclaimed visual artist and filmmaker known for her works which reveal persistent social injustices and inequalities, particularly in the Philippines. She graduated from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños with an undergraduate degree in Human Ecology, and pursued further studies in 16mm documentary filmmaking at the Mowefund Film Institute. She has been featured in several international art events such as the Singapore Biennale (2013), Yokohama Triennale (2014), and the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (2015). Her works are currently in the permanent collections of the Singapore Art Museum, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, and the Ateneo Art Gallery.
Nguyen Trinh Thi (Vietnam) is a Hanoi-based filmmaker and moving image artist. Her diverse practice – traversing boundaries between film and video art, installation and performance – consistently engages with memory and history, and reflects on the roles and positions of art and artists in society and the environment. Nguyen studied journalism, photography, international relations, and ethnographic film in the United States. Her films and video art works have been shown at festivals and art exhibitions including Asia Pacific Triennale of Contempory Art (APT9) in Brisbane2018; Sydney Biennale2018; Jeu de Paume, Paris; CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux; the Lyon Biennale 2015; Asian Art Biennial 2015, Taiwan; Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial 2014; Singapore Biennale 2013; Jakarta Biennale 2013; Oberhausen International Film Festivaland the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Nguyen is founder and director of Hanoi DOCLAB, an independent centre for documentary film and the moving image art in Hanoi since 2009. She previously showed at NTU CCA Singapore in the exhibition Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History (2017).
Munem Wasif (Bangladesh) explores complex socio-political issues through photography and video. His artistic practice is marked by close engagement and intimate commitment, both physical and psychological, to his subjects of interest and it usually unfolds through long-term research processes. While interested in the archival and social value of documentary photography, his works often confound the boundaries between fact and fiction. He has participated in international exhibitions such as Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019); the 9th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (2018-19); An Atlas of Mirrors, Singapore Biennale (2016), among numerous others. Wasif is currently Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore (2 April – 1 July 2019).
This screening series runs in parallel to NTU CCA Singapore’s current exhibition Arus Balik – From below the wind to above the wind and back again, responding to themes of the Singapore Bicentennial.
Image caption: Kiri Dalena, Gikan sa Ngitngit nga Kinailadman (From the Dark Depths), 2017, Single-channel video, sound, 27 min. Courtesy the artist.