Jalan Jati (Teak Road)

Lucy Davis, Zai Tang

    Tutkimustuotos: Taiteellinen julkaisu ja ICT-julkaisuFilmSolo art productionvertaisarvioitu


    Jalan Jati (Teak Road) screened at Professor Ray Langenbach's Curated Section in A+ Online Festival of Video Art Asia.

    MOBILITY➗DEATH➗MOBILITY states of division The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded our species that we have feet of clay and live in permeable membranes. By stripping away our mobility and bio-exceptionalism, it has laid bare class, race, nationalism, and chauvinism. Species-awareness, planet awareness and our responsibility for climate change have come into sharp focus. I used to hope that my generation would somehow avoid death; I now accept that no one gets out of life alive, and that our global culling is largely self-inflicted. Covid-19 as means and method. My former magical thinking has been replaced by paradoxical thinking. Ancient narratives about death and our negotiations with it map the ruptures and rapture of paradoxical thinking. We have all heard variations of the Babylonian Talmudic paradox from around 500CE that visualizes Solomon speaking to the Angel of Death, who has been assigned the task of "taking" two of his assistants. Solomon tries to change their fate by sending them off to another city, only to be informed that they met their 'appointment' with Death there. He then mused, "A man's feet are responsible for him; they lead him to the place where he is wanted.” In this story Death was personified, gendered, and embedded in human relations. A thousand years later, the feet of this Talmudic tale led it to the 15th century Egyptian Islamic scholar Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūtī (d. 911/1505), and his writings on Angels. In his version, an old man sees the Angel of Death and beseeches Solomon to send him to India to change his fate. Again, the Death arrives in India at the appointed hour and takes his soul. After another 428 years, the story found its way to the pen of Somerset Maugham in 1933. He wrote of a dead-man-walking, who flees from Baghdad upon seeing Death, to Samarra, where he is promptly reaped. It was repeated a year later by John O’Hara, in his novel, Appointment in Samarra and most recently, surfaced again for another spasm in the first episode of Season four of Sherlock on Netflix. Like a repressed memory, the paradoxical knot binding free will to fate and to death’s inevitability in this story still sounds reasonable today, perhaps because the conditions of life remain as contingent and ephemeral as 1500 years ago in Babylon. The intervening gaps of time, when the story disappears and resurfaces, are simply jump-cuts in the film-time of this narrative… a montage of presences and absences in the midst of history's real-time. In 1967 the director Pier Paolo Pasolini theorized montage / death providing a life's epiphany: Cinema is identical to life, because each one of us has a virtual and invisible camera which follows us from when we’re born to when we die. In reality, cinema is an infinite film sequence-shot. Each individual film interrupts and rearranges this infinite sequence-shot and thus creates meaning, which is what happens to us when we die. It is only at our moment of death that our life, to that point undecipherable, ambiguous, suspended, acquires a meaning. Montage thus plays the same role in cinema as death does in life. For Pasolini, montage and death provide the fleeting moment when screenlife takes on meaning. Those of us alive now peer through our mirrored reflection on the computer or television screen every day to see shocking transmissions of sickness, despair and death during this Covid-19 pandemic. Our superimposition on the monitor's mirrored surface is reassuring, convincing us we are still here, watching ourselves watching. People die in discreet stochastic membranes that our communities and cultures take great pains to rationalize, synchronise and cohere with funeral rituals, news reports and statistical analyses. It is common to hear that "time goes on" after a loved one dies, knowing full well that glib platitudes do not do justice to their incommensurable experience. The end of history finds its synecdoche in montage.

    LUCY DAVIS: Jalan Jati, Teak Road 1- film link here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8sye3nji19nisqp/jalan%20jati%20computer%20lcd%20quality%20may%202014%20copy.mp4?dl=0

    Jalan Jati (Teak Road) 23 minutes By the Migrant Ecologies Project 2012
    Direction, Animation & Script, Lucy Davis
    Sound: Zai Tang & Zai Kuning
    Medium: Experimental, hand-drawn, hand-animated film.
    Much of the imagery is from woodprints fragments of the original bed.The Migrant Ecologies Project was founded in 2009 by artist, art writer and educator Lucy Davis as an umbrella for collaborative, interdisciplinary inquiries into questions of art ecology and more than human connections. Davis's practice encircles ecologies, animal and plant studies, art and visual culture, materiality and memory—primarily but not exclusively in Southeast Asia. 
    Statement Synopsis: Jalan Jati traces the historic, material and poetic journeys of a 1950s teak bed that was found in a Singapore karang guni junk store, back to a location from where the original teak tree might have grown. The animated film brings together cross-cultural natural histories, micro and macro arboreal relationships in Southeast Asia and DNA timber tracking technology. The work is transdisciplinary, straddling art, plant genetics, the histories of biological migrations, and teak exploitation in the colonial and post-colonial eras. Surprisingly, it treats teak itself as an agent of change and migrations, using humans to transport its seeds to other islands in the Nusantara archipelago. The map of teak/human symbiosis in the film is complex, dynamic, cyclical and animist. Everything is alive and in continuous transformation. The film is one small part of a decade long and ongoing, material, genetic, historic and poetic exploration of stories of wood in island Southeast Asia by The Migrant Ecologies Project. www.migrantecologies.org
    JulkaisupaikkaKuala Lumpur
    KustantajaA+ Works of Art
    Tuotoksen mediaOnline
    Koko23 min
    TilaJulkaistu - elok. 2020
    OKM-julkaisutyyppiF1 Itsenäinen teos tai esitys

    Field of art

    • Elokuva
    • Nykytaide


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