Collage is a known genre in 20th art, impregnated with subversion and revisionist intentions by playing with established cultural meanings in what is visual. Montage also highlights clashes of images to generate new meanings. Its language is juxtaposition, sequential ordering and more, leading to new awareness of the world as temporal and spatial experiences beyond the photograph’s power to make good copies of our world. More of the Ventriloquists 2 (18 Aug – 13 Sep 2021)… 拼貼（單幅圖像）和蒙太奇方法有別，語法上、態度上、意識的探索上，都具創新的意向。拼貼顛覆文化符號的意義；蒙太奇說我們的存在是時間的存在、空間的存在以至創造。《腹語系2021》（2021。08.18-09.13）更多作品…。
**feature image: from Wong Ka Chun’s collage-montage exercise Fertility
Works featured in this post:
Alice in Ventland (video collage-montage, 2021) –YAU Po-ting Alice 丘寶婷
Trapped (video collage-montage, 2021) – TIN Tsz-yu 田梓榆
Albert Lamorisse: Red Balloon (1956) (pictogram, 2021) – Wong Ka-chun 黃家俊
Fertility (video montage sequence, 2021) –Wong Ka-chun 黃家俊
When Death Becomes a Kind of Waiting (pictogram, 2021) – CHEN Yunyao 陳韞堯
Collage in Montage
Cut-up method — found meanings as moving image
Collaging is controlling composition: the artists place the individual parts as precisely as they wish. That is why, when looking at a collage work it makes sense to remember that every part of the image was placed the way it was deliberately, and thus any part of the work is meaningful. This also applies to montage, the sequential combination of images. In many of the video montage sequence works in this exhibition, we find purposeful integration of collage and montage; the passage of time of unfolding creates an immersive narrative experience. From a different perspective, montage and collage are both optimal tools of analysis: visualization diversifies the ways images function.
The three video montage sequence in the following works tell a story that highlights the rich meanings of their varied components assembled into a singular moving image narrative. The symbolism embedded in these works must not be slighted, for example, red colour is for lust and sin, black and white a sense of loss, a road the symbol for a journey and so on, which could only be fully grasped step by step as the narrative unfolds.
Two of the works introduced in this post are pictograms. Whereas they each analyse a different film, one takes a more playful approach (Wong) and the other a more aesthetic interpretation (Chen). In doing so, they are artistic recreation of an existing artwork. while offering an analytical account to the observer.
| Thore Flynn Hadre
Alice in Ventland – YAU Po Ting, Alice 丘寶婷
Video Montage Sequence | 01’25’’ | [to view the work]
What will the world be like years after the pandemic? Will people still be afraid of COVID-19, or will our life resume to how it was before? With these questions as a starting point, this work is my imagination of our future.
I borrowed the main character from “Alice in Wonderland” because Alice is known as the girl who loves wondering. In the scenario of the work, it is unknown how many years have passed since the pandemic, but we still can see people wearing gas masks and maintaining social distance to protect themselves. When coughing is heard, people start to disappear sequentially while the photo keeps zooming in. At the moment her mask falls on the ground, Alice turns colourful, just like the other people around her. Then the perspective starts to zoom out until it arrives at the starting position. In the end, the world becomes monochrome and people are all gone.
Viewers are free to interpret my imaginative future scenario. I have put much effort into creating a photo-series that is free from stereotypes, while depicting social phenomena that emerged in 2020. For instance, in my design, Alice has short hair, wears short pants under her dress and her face is never revealed as I to keep this character genderless. Different colours show how people interpret their surroundings. Blandness suggests pessimism and colourfulness optimistic perspectives, and yet without being made explicit. I also include visual fragments that remind us of certain familiar social phenomena such as panic run for sanitisers, family conflicts and overpopulation.
The scenes in this sequence could also be interpreted from different angles. Zooming into the photo may reveal my symbolisation of death: a closer look finds the world full of deadly air pollution and viruses, and people dying if they ever take off their masks. Of course, taking it off could also represent liberation — only if the world would be free from hazards, and we could live without a mask. (Alice Yau)
Trapped – TIN Tsz-yu 田梓榆
Video Montage Sequence | 01’25’’
Shareable video link: https://vimeo.com/517002253
This photo sequence depicts a male collage artist creating his art with a peculiar camera that has a surreal effect — every press of the shutter to capture an image also “captures” the objects — girls with red appearances — and transports them to a different dimension. As we watch the artist making more and more photographs, more girls disappear and become trapped as fragments of art. When the last stunning and captivating piece is required to finish the photographer’s artwork display wall, he himself becomes the limelight of his own artwork.
One day, when I was on the train, I saw a tv screen in the train suddenly lose its signal and turn to a colour bar screen. This left me wondering: when will it be switched on again? What will be the next scene? Will it be the same as what I was looking at before it turns off? I could feel being carried away and drawn into the potentially possible images this moment could produce. The content of electronic devices highlight the image’s likeness to what is in the world, and we expect what they record is reality itself. What if we change our perspective to looking at what is outside from the inside? There might be a different “reality,” as well as different time and space. This inspired me to keep expanding this concept, resulting in my photo sequence.
As we mostly perceive it, what a photograph captures is absolutely real, representing a particular moment or movement in time and space. Visually appealing lighting, compelling composition and a photographer’s originality seems to have become the basic aspects of a “good” photograph.
However, an image sequence at work often subverts our ordinary perspectives and interpretations of a still photograph. Although it is undeniable that space and time are inseparable for our body in the universe, in the narratives of an image sequence, time is no longer rendered linear and unidirectional; we do not need to obey the rules of time experienced in reality when we create artistically. It brings us to the realization that time as a concept points us to the flow of time demonstrated through changes, either continuous or noncontinuous, and the rhythms produced by those changes. These are exactly the determinative elements of narratives that obstruct the body of a work and what an image sequence with a temporal progress exploits. It changes our mind not to only see photographs as distinct, separate units, each of an isolated moment, but as trajectories formed by the arrangement of components in a particular sequential or procedural order, which shows the significance of how each photo can interrelate with gaps and flow.
As time cannot move without space, I also stress its connection with space. We used to pay attention to the spatial sense presented in a photograph. I do not deny the visual attraction it gives us, as image sequences have indeed led us to understand how those visual effects can help us to develop our narrative strategies. In this era of technological revolution, we are witnessing a wider spectrum of cinematic twists within the art scenes due to the rise of digital visuals generated by computers. The content of a photograph is not necessarily real and does not need to stem from reality any more. While reality sometimes becomes our border and narrows our horizon, photo montage summarizes multiple virtual and unconscious realities in a visual language. From dreams and memories, to the realm of emotions and desires, calling us to break free from our everyday conception of the photograph. (Tin Tsz-yu)
Albert Lamorisse: Red Balloon (1956) – WONG Ka-chun 黃家俊
Pictogram | banner 200 x 200 cm
In this artwork, the movie The Red Balloon (1956) is merged with the game Snakes and Ladders from India, the latter turned into a the layout of my pictogram. With a chessboard-like setup, the story unfolds and proceeds step by step, from point 0 at the beginning to 100 at the exit point. The film, by French director Albert Lamorisse, has a strong post-world-war-II theme: it is full of blue and gray tones, inserted into which a balloon and the lively children. The artist used the colorful board game to create a more vivid work in concordance with the theme of children. This work provides an interpretation of the film’s narrative, visually, and playfully.
Fertility – WONG Ka-chun 黃家俊
Video Montage Sequence | 01’15’’
Shareable video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6RFf0V7lt0&feature=youtu.be
What is the purpose of fertility?
The work ‘fertility’ is based on the human desire to spawn new life. The montage sequence of the film unfolds in time: from the birth of a baby to the birth of another new life. This collage also uses flowers as a theme as the author hopes to express beautiful things, even though some behaviors are ugly in the eyes of others.
The first photo shows a baby growing up out of the soil, a condom in a contracted position, and a flower representing the baby’s pure mind. So, the baby’s head and the big hand show that the hand helps the baby prosper. In the second scene the baby is already grown up and falls in love. In the centre of the image, you can see a border, separating the angels above from the humans below. I use pink as the dominant color to enhance the feeling of pure romantic love. In the third picture, what is hidden behind romantic love is revealed — sexual desire. The man and the woman begin to liberate themselves and release their most fascinating side. The two hands represent society’s shaming of women and its protection of men in sexual topics. In the fourth collage, both parties have a sexual climax, the man releases his spring onion (or semen) into the woman’s eggs (ovum). In the last collage, the color tone relaxes and changes again. A little girl and a calf are waiting for their birth, they are ready to go to where the big lemon is, which represents the world. A new life awaits them in the near future. (Wong Ka-chun)
When Death Becomes a Kind of Waiting.
Pictogram Foam Board 60 x 140 cm
The pictogram When the Death Becomes a Kind of Waiting is inspired by Canadian animation art Caroline Leaf’s work The Street (1976), a time-based work that sketches a person’s path from alive to dead as perceived by a child. The horizontal dimension of the narrative follows a timeline along which the world is viewed from top to bottom, and from light to dark, just like Grandma’s life coming to an end.
I chose to work on Leaf’s work because of its rich expression of reality and the ink painting style she adopts. I immediately found the fluid flow of ink enchanting even from the first time I watched this work. The story captured a Jewish family’s feelings for their dying grandmother, distilled into the harsh reality from the perspective of a child.
The use of ink results in a blending and morphing effect, resulting in seamless transition across the “scenes” to show rich changes in moods and emotions. In my pictogram, I use a similar painting style as that in the film, using dark and yellow ink to form my visual grammar. The background represents the change from life to death: light suggests being alive and dark death. From top to bottom of the pictogram, a red Sun, grandma still alive in summer, becomes a yellow moon, representing oblivion and death.
There is more to my use of symbolism. The red candle on the table shows the hope of the family as they are waiting around grandmother’s deathbed. The son, the main character as a child, cannot understand the real meaning of her situation. All he wants was to watch the beautiful nurse with his friends, laughing in merriment. The big exclamation mark ‘!’ stands for the parents’ power. Mom scolded the son to assure his respect for Grandma. The son greets Grandma everyday, but his true desire is inheriting her bedroom to live apart from his sister. The blue color symbolizes hypocrisy and greed among the family members.
As Mom lies sick in bed, exhausted by having to look after her own mother, other relatives find excuses to send Grandma into a residence for the elderly. The light-red cross signifies the old woman being taken away by an ambulance, while the dark red cross symbolizes her death.
Her family got together and left blue teardrops of hypocrisy for the grandma. Only some of them come from true sorrow for her. The son did not want to live in the room after his grandmother’s death. Yellow means rejection. The grandmother in the bed became a soul. In the end, the candle of life extinguishes, and the remaining smoke transforms into the notation of the music score. Some dialogues in animation were written into the lines of the score, representing the film’s background music in the form of dialogue. The notes gradually decrease, symbolizing the silence after death. (Chan Yunyao)
With symbolism as a main strategy, the pictogram highlights death as not just a moment, but a prolonged process of waiting and the playing out of inter-personal relationship and human nature. [Editor’s note]
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To read the entire Ventriloquist 2020 series: http://floatingprojectscollective.net/author/ventriloquists/