Under the Skin, a Fruit: Short Film Program

Under the Skin, a Fruit

Rotations, Wendy’s Subway, and Poetic Research Bureau co-present a program of short films—selected together with Na Mira and visiting Melbourne poet Elena Gomez—by film artists whose work is informed by translation and dislocation, both materially and in real time. “Under the Skin, a Fruit” takes a line from Mira’s book to convey the shared dual-textures and ineffable doubles, stone fruits, in otherwise diverging lines of straining “plot”: Aboriginal histories take place in theatrical reencounter, Clarice Lispector’s Água Viva is read aloud and fragmented, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s earthwork shifts its container.

This event is organized on the occasion of the Los Angeles launch of Na Mira's The Book of Na at 2220 Arts + Archives. More details here.
 

Collection of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Gift of the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Memorial Foundation. Copyright: Regents of the University of California. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Nguyễn Trinh Thi, Landscape Series #1 (2013, 5 mins)

This short film by Hanoi-based video artist, documentary filmmaker, and founder of Hanoi DocLab, Nguyễn Trinh Thi, presents a selection (from hundreds) of Vietnamese press landscape photographs. Eerily retrospective in their vacation-photo slideshow-format, and featuring many unnamed persons pointing “something” out, these augmented landscapes “indicate a direction, a way forward out of the past, a fictional journey,” as the artist has written.

Na Mira, Untitled (Água Viva) (2013, 12 mins)

In Untitled (Água Viva), 2013, Clarice Lispector’s novel is read aloud by a father. A mother debates the meaning. Between sound and vision language is bodied, breaking out. “Could I manage to surrender to the expectant silence of a question with no answer?” From off-screen her words transcribed, doubled: “Yeah!” / "Yeah!” (Mira)

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Re Dis Appearing (1977, 2.5 mins)

The artist speaks a word, which is quickly echoed in French, so that the words are only barely comprehended. Simple images—a bowl, a photograph of the ocean—appear and disappear. (EAI)

Tracey Moffatt, Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (1990, 17 mins)

A pair of frail, gnarled feet. The Aboriginal daughter on her hands and knees, gently washes her white mother’s arthritic feet. The Aboriginal woman begins to remember another time, when as a family they would visit the beach. (NFSA)

Na Mira, Tesseract (test) (2020, 6 mins)

“[FLASHING LIGHT]

19. On the screen is projected same shot of railroad tracks
20. The woman enters live from screen left
21. She walks into the image slowly” 

—Theresa Hak Kyung Cha describing the end of her unfinished film, White Dust From Mongolia, 1980.

Mira performed this scene recording with the broken infrared night camera that has been producing a glitch across her projects for years, repeating the past in the present. During the performance, sounds began hissing from a microphone Mira made with a latex tube soaked in Mugwort. This reverse transmission, later audible as 1540 AM Radio Korea, has been playing ever since. (Mira)

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Secret Spill (1974, 27 mins)

Cha’s first video-work is a documented durational performance and earthwork installation that fuses elements of the natural world to make cyclical and unceasing what is traditionally distinct: inside and outside, emptiness and fullness. “Total duration without need for verification of time” —Dictee.

Marie Menken, Eye Music in Red Major (1961, 5.5 mins)

“A study in light based on persistence of vision and enhancement from eye fatigue.” (Menken, Film-Maker’s Coop)

Special thanks

With gratitude to Nguyễn Trinh Thi, Electronic Arts Intermix, Estate of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, The Film-maker’s Cooperative, and Women Make Movies.

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