10.NOV.2007   19.JAN.2008

PATTY CHANG AND DAVID KELLEY
FLOTSAM JETSAM

Flotsam Jetsam is an installation video project by Patty Chang and David Kelly, both American artists.
The exhibition takes up both floors of the gallery:
upstairs hosts the projection of the film Flotsam Jetsam together with a photographic documentation related to it; downstairs becomes the stage of a peculiar installation choice consisting of two large water beds. By lying on these beds, spectators will be able to enjoy the experimental documentary that led up to the creation of the entire project. In addition, while walking your way around the area, you will bump into the reconstruction of a submarine, a key element to the storytelling of the film. Flotsam Jetsam, (floating relics), is a video project shot around the Three Gorges Dam area on the river Yangtze in China. Completed in 2004, the Three Gorges Dam is the largest concrete conglomerate on the entire planet. In its wake, the dam left behind 400 miles of submerged landscape and uprooted 1.4 million people. The landscape, now under water, has taken on a nostalgic and immutable characteristic, which is reminiscent of one’s dream and memory. This project analyses the relationship between landscape and identity within the scope of the radical infrastructural changes undergone by the Three Gorges area. The video documents the building process of a submarine, its departure below the dam, its path along the river and through the dams, down into the river basin. In the underwater world, the imaginary dimension takes centre stage and the submarine becomes a means of observing this psychological space, it is a metaphor of the journey into the subconscious, the inner state. Other testimonies and representations weave together the thread of this storytelling: dreams told during psychotherapy sessions held in a swimming pool, the representation of a theatre play in a ship yard, the voice of the actors expressing their views on the development and purpose behind the making of the video. These fragmentary stories in the local language merge with the submarine's journey, creating a third story about the connection between landscape and imagination; the underwater landscape of the Three Gorges Dam represents the inner state, the dream. The project draws inspiration from a wide collection of sources including the poems written by President Mao on the river Jangtze, “20000 leagues under the sea” by Jules Verne, modern news reports on economic development and the imaginary scenarios of Asia’s modernisation.


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