Fiona Tan (b. 1966)
Disorient: Screen 1 (2009), excerpt
HD installation
colour, 5:1 surround
2 HD-cam safety masters, 2 HD projectors, 2 computers, 2 surround amplifiers, surround speakers

‘Tan presents two videos in Disorient. One is a nomadic account, the other a material gathering. [...] The first seems almost museological. Artefacts have been gathered and assembled en masse like an endless cabinet of curiosities. [...] We pan through this assortment of things: bird cages; chests of drawers; Indian dolls; wooden textures, woven fabrics, carpets; rich emblems made in dense earth colours of red and terracotta. All a kind of tropical, lush forest of cultural signs and things. [...]

A voice murmurs in the space. The sound of the voice washes in the room; it rolls like a tide around the walls. The voice settles in the images of the second video, even while it appears also to narrate the wunderkammer of objects in the first. This video moves between the smooth and striated space described by Deleuze. The narrator’s voice is even, formulaic. His words, abbreviated from the texts of Venetian explorer Marco Polo, catalogue people and places in a steady, predictable list: religion, trade, customs, appearance. [...] ‘Along with the disembodied voice we become one with the eye of the camera, which passes through clouds and travels over mountain ranges to deliver us to scenes in which truck carcasses are carried over rocky ranges, women pray at a wall, opium poppies bob in the wind and are then harvested, fireworks explode. Firecrackers or bombs – I hesitate, in my mind, to confirm which.’

Infinite Crossroads
- Juliana Engberg, Coming Home, catalogue SCAF Foundation Sydney, 2010

"Ten Women Who Use Film" curated by Jennifer Higgie