View from above (Hiwa K, 2018)

By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Building with Different Materials 

In the realm of identity, being confronted with the crude reality of the world we’re inhabiting may be birthing a sort of cognitive dissonance: we’re not what we used to be, or we must switch our identities in order to survive. Hiwa K and Korakrit Arunanondchai take two very different approaches on the subject, one could say approaches that emerge from the uncertainty of representation. Minimalism vs. maximalism, a catapult of ideas from different sources: a map, a model, a discourse, digitally interchangeable ideas that deal with memory and representation, in one side, a reach into Marker’s Sans Soleil era of film essays for the digital world, in the other, the dignified manifestation of territory simulacra and anecdote.

View from above and Arunanondchai’s film speak on how can you achieve more with less. Indeed, Hiwa K makes a powerful statement on borders, identity and struggle portraying different angles of a destroyed city model. The anecdote, the story in which a character loses itself so deeply into his manifestation of a new identity, reminisces of the deletion of the self, a manifestation of war that makes men invisible. K’s document is important because we don’t see its characters, they’re behind curtains, just as a memory, a quiet whisper, a fleeting story. All that remains are ashes, crumbled edifications, the scars of armed conflict.

In Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 4, Arunanondchai seems to use a massive arrange of dispositifs to attempt a serious statement. It is a compelling watch, for some minutes, a whole drone-led light-modern world-against-nature-anti-capitalist statement, somewhat confused in its own conflict, a melting pot of ideas that don’t have the simplicity of the former discourse. A piece of art that would work better as an installation (and indeed, there’s an iteration of the work destined for galleries) but that in its film format is just too packed with everything, like if the artist was compelled to register the whole universe in his film. A noble endeavor that overreaches.

DOMUS (Rhayne Vermette, 2017)

The first masterpiece I found in the program of Images Festival has been Rhayne Vermette’s DOMUS, an inexplicable work of genius. In its surface, DOMUS is a portrait of architect Carlo Mollino, but its intentions go far beyond that. The manifestation of architecture, of an intention of constructing in the realm of cinema brings afloat a series of devices: animation, collage, fixed photography, found footage, etc. to display the artist own obsession with the imaginary of construction, of her own architecture and the possibilities of planning a cinematic blueprint of sorts, a testament of the mind’s work when dealing with complex structures, a realm or a habitat for the imagination, a construction of cinema’s resting place.

DOMUS loses itself trying to build its own universe, but this trip in which we’re involved is a fantastic repetition of the self: the universe of the artist, the work table, the office, the intervened material. Is as cinema is trying to breach the realm of another universe that it does not own, to breach and intervene memories, plans, life itself. Vermette has build something I cannot put my finger on precisely. It escapes me, its grandiosity escapes me, the futility of my words is immense in contrast to this film which is a love letter to architecture, to cinema, to art, to life, an autobiography, or a diary.

Wishing Well (Sylvia Scheldelbauer, 2018)

Sylvia Scheldelbauer’s Wishing Well was another lysergic experience of the intimate. The primal pulse of her images set the pace of an invisible rhythm, while we travel a path that might be a metaphor for a memory, for the ghostly road of our memories, somewhat linked to the appearance of a second patina of light, apparitions that mix themselves, images within images, a beating heart that tries to infuse life through its communicating vessels. Wishing Well is a fantastic experience of the erotic (the sensory), but it is also interlocked with the idea of commuting layers of significants in order to construct a different creature, a living, breathing being pulsing along the 24fps of cinema.

An aesthetic eye is keen on the compulsive merging of images, a method that dwells with a different array of paintings. The filmmaker is, indeed, not only painting with light, but also, mixing a palette with two different compositions. The living painting of Schedelbauer’s manifestation of life is constantly renewing itself, reinventing itself from the intentions of memory, as a resource of the imagination or plain brain activity. It’s a nostalgic exercise with structural components, it’s both recalling, building and breathing. A remarkable work.

View from above
Directed by: Hiwa K
Producer, Editor: Ben Brix
Editing: Steffen Martin

Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 4
Directed by: Korakrit Arunanondchai
Editing: Alex Gvojic
Producer: Carlos Ishikawa

Director, cinematographer, editor: Rhayne Vermette
Sound: Riley Hill
Music: Rob Crooks

Wishing Well
Director, editor: Sylvia Schedelbauer
Music: Jeff Surak