Still SCENES FROM A SHANGHAI HOTEL by Geoffrey Weary
Scenes from a Shanghai Hotel - digital video
A Russian woman living in China is expelled after the Communist Revolution in 1948. Her story begins in a hotel room in Shanghai and ends on a suburban street in Sydney, Australia. The work is structured around a series of digitally manipulated tableaux images of a woman, suspended in an indeterminate space, holding a series photographic images of another young woman that closely resemble her. The young woman is first seen in a black and white passport photograph and then in a series of glamorous portraits that finally conclude with another passport image of a different kind taken many years later. Each photograph is presented through the work as a series of clues about this woman, her identity, aspects of her life and her eventual fate as a refugee. A young woman is also seen in a hotel room in Shanghai. Her role is ambiguous. Is she the woman seen in the tableaux images or does she represent the young woman in the black and white photographs or is she a fusion of both identities?. Scenes from a Shanghai Hotel mixes performative, fictional, digital media and documentary forms as a way of creating a work that is evocative and open to interpretation. What we know is implied rather than overtly stated. Extensive use of film leader, scratchy film surfaces and coloured film add to a sense that what we are seeing resembles something fragmentary and illusive...or is it just like a newsreel being played in someone’s head ?. Geoffrey Weary is a film and digital video artist who makes works for single screen projection and site specific installations. He has participated in national exhibitions and film festivals in Australia and his work has been selected for screening in festivals in Europe and the United States. Geoffrey’s recent digital films are experimental works that record personal stories combining documentary, fiction and fantasy elements. Geoffrey Weary is a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Master of Film and Digital Image at Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney. Writen,edited and directed by Geoffrey Weary Digital f/x: Tatiana Pentes and Geoffrey Weary Performance: Tatiana Pentes Taxi Dancer: Rose Tang Music and Sound Design: Michael Bates and Mark Gardiner Produced in association with the Australian Film Commission
Tatiana Pentes developed blackBOX artwork from 2002 to 2006. The website is an ongoing academic research site. The creative work was produced through an Australian Postgraduate Award, in Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, 2006.
STRANGE CITIES CD-ROM produced in association with the Australian Film Commission was made by Tatiana Pentes in collaboration with radio producer Eurydice Aroney, & Geoffrey Weary winning a prestigious AIMIA & ATOM Award 2000 for Best Arts Title, 2000.
Growing up in the Australian suburbs, my grandmother Xenia would sit me on her knee. I will never forget that she told me one thing - my "Rosebud" - & that was SHANGHAI! the most exciting city in the world.
I reaslied that while we sat in the Holden, Xenia sipping her sweet sherry, grandad Serge swapped stories with the ex-serviceman & drank his 'middies of New' in the local, & I listened to all Xenia's stories about the trip on Chan Sha ship from China to Australia. The impression was that this was the 'land of milk & honey' but it 'aint Shanghai!'. The Parisian style boulevards of trees on Avenue Joffre, the New York deco sky-line, & Chinese temple of the jade Buddha didn't match up to the suburban profane. But the jewel in my crown was what Xenia gave me - my dreams of imaginary SHANGHAI! that cosmopolitan metropolis, hybrid mix of Indian Sikh mounted police, desperate Russian emigres from Harbin, ancient Chinese traditions, & a taste for the high life - joy, gin & jazz!
blackBOX is an exploration of the diversity that makes all of us in the urban melting pot & cultural melange of (post)modern cities. I wish to evoke through multi-media experience the migration of the old media into the new media. This is metaphoric of the migration of music & memories carried through the emigre cultures.
I have been attending parts of the INTERACTION: Systems, Practice and Theory conference http://research.it.uts.edu.au/creative/interaction/index.phpt hat CCS http://research.it.uts.edu.au/creative/ccrs/ and DDR http://www.dynamicdesignresearchgroup.com/ has organised. I was once again impressed by Tatiana Pentes' presentation of BlackBox.I first saw this piece at IE04 http://research.it.uts.edu.au/creative/ie/
It has grown to become much more seductive. BlackBox is not a game although it does have game like qualities. You explore the beautiful visual and soundscapes to find out trying to understand your origins. It does have clear endpoint, the final chapter, and you do get to make choices along the way; however, unlike MYST there are no puzzles. BlackBox is not a game, it is what (some) games should aspire to become. I cannot wait for an executable that I can download and play with. Posted by Yusuf Pisan at November 19, 2004 08:27 AM http://www-staff.it.uts.edu.au/~ypisan/wl/mt-tb.cgi/10
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