UNIVERSITI SAINS MALAYSIA (USM) VIDEO ART COLLECTION
Curated by Hasnul J Saidon
This programme features Malaysian video works from the USM Video Art Collection.
Texts for the synopsis are mostly based on materials provided by the artists or
galleries that represent them. The screening is divided into 5 themes:
• The Politics of Displacement and (Mis)representation.
Post-colon – A Series of Video Shorts
(1993) 9:25 mins (excerpts) Hasnul J Saidon
“Post-colon” is a series of video shorts based on the artist’s cross-cultural experiences during his 3 year stay in the USA. This introspective video looks into the artist’s own displacement of his ethnicity, nationality, historical and cultural background as well as personal memories, within the context of his
host country USA and the spectacle of mass media.
11:10 min Nur Hanim Khairuddin
The works comments on the power of global media in demonising Islam and echoes the growing dis-taste for media imperialism and how the hegemony of global media capitalises on conflicts to achieve economic and political domination. It also makes a wry comment about fabricated reality, which seems to affirm the post modernist’s proposition that we live within the sway of mythology conjured for us by the mass media, movies and advertisements.
• The Transient Nature of Space, Memory and History.
Not Talking To A Brick Wall
(2006) 5:34 min Nadiah Bamadhaj
The house in this video is located in Geylang, Singapore and was built by the artist’s great grandfather, Omar Bamadhaj, in the late 1800. Three generations of Bamadhajs lived in this house and an entire generation was born here. This house was sold to a collective of Singaporeans by the Bamadhaj family in the 1980s. This work is inspired by a collection of old family photographs that focus around the site and tales of the patriarch Omar’s emotional distance from his many grandchildren, one of whom is the artist’s father. This video attempts to express her frustration at the inaccessibility of memory in both photograph and site, of emotional warmth between the generations of her family and of the under-standing of what it means to be one of Singapore’s Arab families. The structure of the house still exist, but the ownership of memory, site and identity is now lost.
*Revisiting Existentialist Tendency.
(2007) 21:00 min TC Liew
The video is based on documentation of the artist’s audience-participative public performance in George Town, Penang. In the performance, members of the audience were encouraged to burn joysticks as a means to bring luck, cleanse and rejuvenate themselves. On a personal level, the performance was also meant as a recuperation and cleansing ritual for the artist, other than the state of Penang. About a year after the performance, the state witnessed a political transition from Barisan Nasional to the DAP-lead Pakatan Rakyat.
The Last Sin
(2008) 15:10 min Fadly Sabran
In his note, the artist writes, “mainly in Malaysia, for those who are living as a visual artist, life is full of challenges. Even though the valuation of the art scene is very subjective, those who do not have the strength to sustain should think twice before deciding to be a visual artist. Those who are weak have mostly surrendered.” This work depicts a story of a struggling visual artist whose life is marked by a tragic twist of irony and paradox.
• Pop Fiction, Parody and Witty Social Commentaries.
How To Be Bruce
(2004) 7:00 min Vincent Leong
The original footage of How To Be Bruce – a video of animated graphics, was taken from Way of the Dragon (1972) starring Bruce Lee. The film marked the starting point of a new genre in cinema – Martial Arts.
In the closing sequences, the fight scene between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris at the Coliseum in Rome is considered to be Lee’s finest. This scene is not only significant but also resonates with layers of meanings as it sets up Norris to be defeated by Lee in one of the greatest cultural monuments of
the West, historically an arena for combat.
How To Be Bruce is a 7 minute digitally animated video, which distills human fury from a historically and culturally iconic event into an instantly recognisable, universal and contemporary language of symbols. In this video, a choreography of coloured dots and arrows become the signifiers of human actions and expressions, anatomical tensions and the eternal conflict of good and evil. All the remains from the fight sequences of the film is the decontextualised soundtrack.
• Spirit of Collaboration.
(2010) 2:14 min Shamsul Ikhmal Mansori, Hasnul Jamal Saidon, Goh Lee Kwang
A homage to Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal and Dr. Chong Hon Yin, two separate individuals that are brought together by their affinity towards the stars & universe.