Feelings of Incompleteness
José Drummond presents at the “In The Cloud” International Performance Arts Festival
英譯 English Translation Tanja Wessels / 中譯 Chinese Translation Alice Kok
The 5th “In The Cloud” - International Performance Arts Festival, commissioned and curated by Chinese artists He Li Bin and Sha Yurong of Beijing, was held in Yunnan province last month. In addition to the participation of Chinese and Macau artists - represented by José Drummond – the event also included artists from Japan (Seiji Shimoda), India (Harpreet Singh), Nepal (Prithvi Shrestha) and Bangladesh (Reya).
Drummond was invited by the festival to stage a series of performances, which were documented, resulting in a film that addresses “incompleteness” or a sense of imperfection in his new performance/film work If you had been next to me, it would have been so much better.
One of the settings involved a climb of four thousand meters to perform with the Himalayan ridge as the backdrop: “This festival works as a laboratory to explore ideas and has at its centre the element of performance. I decided to do a set of public performances that would then result in a film,” Drummond says.
“Performance is a much-appreciated style in China, there is a long tradition of it. When contemporary art was introduced, performance was a form of expression that could subvert the difficulties that censorship brought in the 1980s, and over the course of 10 years it has become a great force. That legacy has continued and today performance has gained great importance in China,” he explains.
The festival invited the artist to present a series of theatrical performances that have been recorded and will result in a film, “around the difficulty of expressing feelings”, “duality of meanings of unspoken emotions”, and “a certain incompleteness” or the feeling of “imperfection”.
This is a work that gives continuity to Drummond’s previous projects on loneliness, failure, and the dilemma of life and death, according to the artist. The work consists of a series of theatrical actions and repetitions dealing with the duality of meanings of unspoken emotions.
In the final cinematographic work, Drummond intends to combine the filmed theatrical actions and their repetitions using the “Kuleshov” montage effect, named after the Russian filmmaker who showed that the meaning of a sequence of shots depends on who sees them and not on the images themselves.
The aim is to “induce people to certain states through an image that is repeated, followed by a sequence of other images, each resulting in a different reading,” he explains.
In Drummond’s work to date, the artist is the protagonist, who emerges either as a romantic singer or another “person.” In the new film, the intention is “an encounter with himself, a confrontation with his reflection, which is his own death,” in an allusion to the film The Seventh Seal by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, in which the character plays chess with death.
The work uses different elements of strangeness, portrayed by a central character alien to Yunnan landscapes such as the Shilin Stone Forest in Kunming and Lijiang ancient village.
This tension of the unsettled, unsaid and unfelt, that doesn’t find explanation in any specific reality, looks upon the parallels between the eye of the flesh and the eye of the mind, and how they are both part of a come-and-go between the perception of the real and the vision of the unreal.