Memory is silent at first.
Suddenly, it opens as an unfurling Pandora's box.
At first, images and sounds of the past come by fragment.
Then it then focus on some event.
The story is about a woman who left the city of Taipei years ago.
She recalls some sounds and images of the time spent there.
One day, she let the subway pass in front of her.
Unconsciously, she forgot where she was.
She let the noisy city and the great quantity of people
around her influence her own fragile balance.
Then, by times, she remembers good things of her youth.
The days she was walking to Jin-Hua girl's school.
Soon, this memory is conflicting with the time passing.
The school is no more a girl's school.
Ta-An park has replaced the International Academia.
Memory travels her from reality to dream and back.
The inexorable walk of time.
Further, she vaguely remembers the great quantity of people walking around her
but she couldn't identify anybody as they looked like paper cuttings.
She can't see but can tell pieces of their thought as they pass in front of her.
"Taipei is taipei, Taipei is not Taipei" they keep saying.
Finally, she strives to go away from the surrounding sounds
and find peace in the beauty of harmonious movements,
she can feel the city dancers around her.
Has she found the spiritual relief of the wanderer ?
The narrative is made of 9 sequences ad folds between personal and collective stories about a city. The ninth sequence is an hovering sequence based on the theory of cybernetics which was invented by the American mathematician Norber Wiener in 1948. He quickly thought of it as an application of his principle to our society as it could be equally applied to the work of a machine, the organism, the industry, the city or an ecosystem. It was notably used by the French sculptor Nicolas Schöffer. To him, cybernetics can be defined as “the vital process that keep a dynamic balance with the ensemble of the phenomena of the universe”.
The results is not an interactive film in the way we are used to. The DVD — through programming — becomes a biological ecosystem that auto-regulates itself based on a certain number of rules. Once the DVD is inserted into the player, it randomly choose a number called the birth. Due to the low number of sequences, this number should be between 1 and 3. The chosen number becomes the base for future random numbers (the chance). After every sequence of the movie, the DVD compares the birth and another random number (the life) based on the chances. If the two happen to match, then an extra sequence should be showed (and the chance is then decremented), if not, the DVD should continue (and the chance is incremented).
It's a poetic journey through questions like were does the city start and the individual end or vise-versa. It reminded me of what I read in a piece by Henri Lefebvre:
"To analyze a rhythm, you have to be out of it. Exteriority is necessary. And yet to grasp a rhythm you must yourself have been grabbed by it, given or abandoned yourself inwardly to the time that it rhythmed." (from Rhythmanalysis of Mediterranean Cities)
This back and forth, finding a peccaries balance between interior and exterior, to be able see and understand (or gain more knowledge) of the city.
Jacky Sawatzky (www.jackysawatzky.net)
Director : Nicolas Maréchal (BE)
Text : CHOU Shengfang (TW)
Camera : Olivier Verdoot
Voice : CHOU Shengfang
Voice recording : Loïc Collignon
Music : "be honest" by The Remote Viewer (UK)
Dancers : Yi-wen Shen et Kuo-feng Tang
(Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan)
Actress : CHOU Chien-Ting
Karaoke singer : SHEN Tain De
Motorcycle driver : CHEN Dexing
Assistant (Taiwan) : Luo Ping
Logistic and translation (Taiwan) : WEI Che-Chun
SHEN Ching-kai Craig Tattersall
CHOU Paying, CHENG Jeff and Bess
CHEN Dexing and CHIU Yi-fei
Mike Liu (MRT Taipei)
Stéphane Colle (autres directions music)
CHANG Pei-ying (Cathay Pacific)
Christine Yen (Far Eastern Hotel)
NOMINATIONS (video art)
with the support of the departement of Cultural Affairs,
City of Taipei (Taiwan)
25th VIPER International (Switzerland)
Videoformes 2006 (France)
la Nuit européenne de la jeune vidéo (France)
Production : l'oeuf ALCHIMIQUE (N.Maréchal) and Hémione Productions (Raymond Tercafs)