Wavelengths 1: Under A Pacific Sun 
Pacific Sun, 21 Chitrakoot, Many A Swan, Concrete Parlay, Departure, Auto-collider Xv
Bookended by Thomas Demand’s astonishing 100-second animation Pacific Sun and legendary experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr’s no-holds-barred trip into painterly abstraction, this programme traverses fabricated worlds marked by shifting weather patterns, stylized mythic backdrops, paper folds and cross-cultural magic carpet rides.
In the fall of 2010, a YouTube video of an Australian Pacific Sun cruise ship that was struck by tempestuous waters in the Tasman Sea, causing its furniture and passengers to sway back and forth in an eerie, otherworldly cadence, went viral. In one of his most ambitious works yet, internationally celebrated German visual artist Thomas Demand (known for his trompe l’oeil photographs of three-dimensional paper models of real spaces and settings) has recreated the Pacific Sun video using a full-scale set constructed completely out of paper. The 100-second video comprises 2,400 frames, shot frame-by-frame with a team of animators who retraced the vacillations of each item several millimetres at a time. Fifteen months in the making, Pacific Sun is as meticulous as it is bewitching, an ode to the forces that lie outside of our comprehension but seduce our imagination.
Equally uncanny and visually enthralling is Shambvani Kaul’s 21 Chitrakoot, which exhumes a mystical land composed of 1980s chroma-key backdrops from a famous Indian television series. With barely tempered chaos, melancholia replaces nostalgia, while abstraction and narrative duel for eminence in a fractured, abandoned utopia.
Dedicated to Akira Yoshizawa, the grandmaster of origami, Blake Williams’ Many a Swan collapses fifteen years of Grand Canyon history and 65 years of 3-D cinema by way of curious folding anaglyphic video planes that, not unlike Demand’s work, suggest paper worlds.
From folding to flying, Fern Silva’s globe-trotting, 16mm Concrete Parlay uses a green-screened magic carpet against footage shot in Egypt, Turkey, France and the US to reflect upon cross-cultural ideas of travel, immigration and geographic displacement — doing so with a disjunctive and disarming vigour that redefines casual “sightseeing.”
From a train trip home, legendary experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr creates a triptych cum structural trajectory in which composition and perception convene into a “phantom ride.” While Departure sharpens the senses as it penetrates a recognizable yet reframed landscape, Gehr’s Auto-Collider XV, from his ongoing series devoted to vehicular form and movement, is a no-holds-barred trip into painterly abstraction — where an Agnes Martin painting meets a rapid-fire back-and-forth Gerhard Richter squeegee and the world is swiftly sent asunder.
2012 Screening Schedule