INTO THE VIOLET BELLY + THE SECRET GARDEN + BURIAL OF THIS ORDER
Into The Violet Belly
Thuy Han Nguyen Chi / Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Malta / 2022 / 20 min / European Premiere
The artist’s mother tells of facing death while fleeing Vietnam as a young woman in a rich and enigmatic video work in which a glowing piece of coal on a mirror shatters any expectation of an unambiguous reality.
Family stories, myths and science fiction run like three parallel tracks through Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi’s video work ‘Into The Violet Belly’, created in collaboration with the artist’s mother, Thuyền Hoa, whose dramatic escape from her homeland Vietnam as a young woman constitutes the work’s own origin story. Her stories of smuggling secret messages past Americans and facing death at sea during her post-war escape are told in a film studio in front of a modern bluescreen – a neutral backdrop capable of transforming into anything. The same goes for the narrative itself. A folkloric tale of a dragon prince is tightly woven with the mother’s story into an enigmatic but meaningful sequence of reoccuring images. Some eggs buried in the black sand in front of an endless sea. A piece of glowing coal on a mirror. Symbols of past and future, tightly bound together in a compact, layered narrative.
The Secret Garden
Nour Ouayda / Lebanon / 2023 / 27 min / World Premiere
An adventure in eight chapters about a secret garden on the outskirts of an unnamed town, which one day wakes up overgrown with new and unknown plant species.
A whispering voice tells us a fairy tale. On the outskirts of an unnamed town lies a secret garden, normally invisible, but which occasionally appears. It is not to be found on any map. It is said to be a refuge for dissidents. One morning, the townspeople wake up to find that entirely new and unknown trees, plants and flowers have sprung up overnight and taken over the streets. ‘The Secret Garden’ is an imaginative, allegorical fable told in eight chapters and on gorgeous analogue film about how the two friends Camelia and Nahla investigate the origins of the strange new creatures. Along the way, they find a mysterious notebook that points them in the direction of a magical creature that – if they can find it – will let them see the future as clearly as day itself. Nour Ouayda (‘Towards the Sun’, CPH:DOX 2019) re-imagines the world solely through the juxtaposition of her impressionistic street photography and her tale of the secret garden. In other words, a meeting between the real and the possible.
Burial of this Order
Jane Jin Kaisen / Denmark / 2023 / 25 min / World Premiere
In an abandoned resort on the South Korean island of Jeju, a group of people perform a symbolic funeral ritual to end a world built on hierarchies, division and destruction.
A procession of non-conforming people – from musicians, artists and poets to anti-militant activists, environmentalists and diasporic, queer and trans people – carry a coffin together through the ruins of what turns out to be an abandoned resort on the South Korean island of Jeju. It soon becomes clear that this is no traditional Confucian funeral. Age and gender roles are subverted, the coffin is draped in dark camouflage colours and the traditional portrait of the deceased is replaced by a black mirror. In the field between funeral ritual, political protest and carnival performance, the procession marches through the ruins of capitalist modernity. Time and place begin to lose their stability as mythical Dokkaebi deities pass through the building, a heavy rain and wind blow through its cavities, and the group, in a revolutionary moment, overthrows and dismantles the prevailing order. Jane Jin Kaisen’s interdisciplinary work not only activates Jeju’s violent history as a site of oppression and rebellion, but is a work with universal power.