Seven years on, my mother is still dreaming about her deceased father, but only on Sunday nights. This reoccurring echo approaches as an embodied melancholic solution to coping with loss through repetitive and prolonged fixation on it. Moreover, it transmutes her body into a vessel that perennially reclaims an internalised object that is long gone.
Burning paper money is the major death ritual among Chinese communities, and it’s also an intimate personal memory between my mother and me. Through presenting and articulating such ritual in a non-linear, layered and looping manner, I intend to investigate the repetition and transformation embedded in it, and its correlation to melancholia as a failed attempt at settling accounts with the past. Considering the traditional role of women folding the paper money, this work further invites the viewer to imagine an interconnection between a symbolic vessel and a reproductive and melancholic body.
This is about her and her melancholia – she devotes herself in her Sunday nights’ dreams; she objectifies herself into a paper vessel; she is destined to consume herself.
Death is in Her Sunday Nights’ Dreams is presented as part of STRAY VOLTAGE, KINGS Artist Run’s iterative video program, collaboratively facilitated by Rebecca McCauley and Aaron Claringbold. Looking to the potential that exists between seemingly incompatible ideas, STRAY VOLTAGE premises an experimental program of critically engaged moving image works, fundamentally grounded by the earth.
STRAY VOLTAGE is supported by the City of Melbourne 2022 Annual Arts Grants Program.
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