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Presence (Graduate Thesis)

May 2021

Artist Statement

Presence is an experimental film which tries to capture the essence of the concept of hometown with the juxtaposition of various medium, stories and narrative styles. It is an attempt of reconstructing a vast and complex idea with intimate and simple pieces. Fractured images, sounds, and senses build up the intimate feelings I have with Tainan, like stars scattered in night sky compose into constellations. One links to another, and each one connects, sharing a common theme. Puzzled together, the pieces create a mosaic of life, an impressionist illustration of home, a sincere hymn of Tainan.

Being an international student in the university means having to stay far away from my hometown constantly. Homesick occurs, and every returning seems to be something that I look forward to. However, the place I went back became more and more unfamiliar. It has been desynchronized with the image in my memories. Relationships have changed, people separated, sceneries altered, and I was absent for too long. Where I once felt warm and safe alienates me, leaving me behind. Now, I can only search for what I was familiar with in my own mind, creating it myself.

Artist Statement

ORIGINAL INSPIRATIONS

The original inspiration of PRESENCE are mainly from two sources; one inspired the form of the work I wanted to experiment with, another inspired the theme I want to make. 

Original Inspirations

- Daido Moriyama: Terayama

A Photobook created by photographer Daido Moriyama and writer Shuji Terayama. The book is a combination of previous made photographs of Moriyama and previous written short stories by Terayama. However, the combination enables the reader to create a bigger theme themselves, taking them into a trip of imagination and feast of art. I wanted to try making a film like it, attempting to create a montage of different stories and mediums for conveying a overall theme which is hard to express.

- Days

A slow pace film created by Tsai Ming Liang. It documented the life of Lee Kang Sheng. The film moved me by its concept of land and people, as well as the beautiful shots that captured them. In four years of studying abroad, I decided it's time for me to go back to my root, Tainan, and document it in my own words and images.  

GT PROPOSAL

GT Proposal

PLANNING 4 PARTs of PRESENCE

Jan 2021

Four separated parts were designed to be edited together in Presence: Moving Images, Text, Photographs, Sound. Each of them represent a part of Tainan: Places, memories, shapes, relationships. 

I. Text

A short text was written before other parts had started, taking a dive into the memories of love ones. Seven versions were created from Jan 16 to Mar 4, changing with the consideration about the use of words and details of meaning. 

- Text ver. 1.0

Planning 4 Parts of Presence

- Text ver. 1.6

II. Moving Images

Moving images was planned the backbone of the whole film, setting up a rhythm and hold up the structure of the film.

 

- Script

The script was designed to envision the moving images as a minimalist story that illustrates loneliness and alienation of home, when there is only the location, without other elements to support it. Creation process of the script started in January, and the final version was settled on Jan 30. 

- Preparation

The date of shooting of the moving image part was set on Feb 5 to Feb 7. For the preparation, a film crew was assembled and two online meetings were held. 

Before shooting, storyboards, scene arrangement and information forms were uploaded, in order to complete smoothly.

In addition, scene location has to be decided. Therefore, several scouting arrangements were made. On Jan19, Jan 20, Jan 25, Jan 26, I went to various locations in Tainan to choose the perfect background for each scene. The green dots on the map were the once considered locations.

- Shooting

On Feb 5 to Feb 7, the moving image part was shot within the schedule. Luckily, only minor problems occurred and were solved swiftly.