Issue 6: What Resonates (Part 2 of 2)

Art x Action Part II: What Resonates

On view from 1 December to 27 December 2020 (after which the full videos are replaced by trailers or stills)

Art x Action is a two-part series and online video art festival that presents a selection of artists who work with the gallery and who currently create video  - a versatile medium for its adaptability and power to transport us.

Now at a time when we must physically distance ourselves from one another amidst the global pandemic, participating in this digital festival is a powerful reminder that we are capable of building a community wherever we are. This pivot to virtual immersions enables the works to reach a wider audience globally and unify them.

This curated festival invites audiences to experience the transformative power of film and video, promotes the cultural awareness and appreciation of the art of screenwriting and storytelling, and calls for the celebration of video artists and their work. The current issue showcases individual journeys, epiphanies and investigations, all of which are testament to each artist’s unique creative and thinking process. They can be quiet but profound, like Avis Ann’s montage of wordless communication that rely more on the intensity of human gaze or eye contact than speech. They can be meditative, like Kar-men Cheng’s diaristic search for rhythm, which is inextricably tied to music and environment, and Cole Sternberg’s peaceful observations of nature. Poignant, like Moi Tran’s reconfiguration of sadness from an emotion that makes us feel powerless to an emotion that empowers and binds us together. Or even provocative, like Quynh Dong's challenge to cultural perceptions and Marcin Dudek’s interventions, which violently exposes truth. 

With this programme, we ask the following questions: How do we make sense of the relentless commotion that is reality and filter out the detritus of daily life to hone in on what really matters? What should we be looking and listening out for, and how do we reach this grounding definition?

This is about what we discover, and upon discovery, what resonates.


1 December - 27 December 2020

Viewing period

Cole Sternberg

The unfettered blueness
Two Channel HD Video (played online via 1 channel)
Full video duration: 08.36’.45”
Edition of 3 + 1AP

For enquiries about this artwork, please email us.

Cole Sternberg

the dizzying nature of collectivity and homebuilding
Two Channel HD Video (played online via 1 channel)
Full video duration: 08.35’.08”
Edition of 3 + 1AP

For enquiries about this artwork, please email us.

What started out as an aesthetic appreciation of nature became a meditative process and an envisioning of a better future. Cole Sternberg, a Californian artist whose works are often informed by the natural environment, spent hours staring at swallows in flight and building nests and the moving water when he came up with these video works. The harmony and expansiveness of the blue palette of sky and sea, coupled with their movements, mesmerized the artist, who filmed the birds and the water at separate locations over several visits to their respective sites.

Conceptually, these works are part of The Free Republic of California, a project envisioning an entirely new infrastructure for California, including a new Constitution, universal healthcare and a strategy for environmental sustainability. As the US plunged into chaos with the Coronavirus pandemic and continually failed to respond to the disease effectively, this harsh reality emerged as a direct contrast to Sternberg’s dreams of freedom, clarity, comfort, safety and glory conveyed in the simple actions and rituals of birds as they traverse the sky and build their homes. Alternatively, in the unfettered blueness, the homebuilding of the birds is replaced by the moving water, referencing a necessity for immediate progression.




Yeyoon Avis Ann

Digital Video 5:04min
Colour, Sound. 16:9.

For enquiries about this artwork, please email us.

For a period of two months, Avis Ann stayed home alone in the countryside of South Korea and felt compelled to watch many movies in lieu of social interaction to remind herself of how people behave and engage with each other. While she understands the irony of seeking to understand the world through the lens of big production media, she realized during this experience that this is how people in isolated environments would learn about language and communication. Curiously, though, she left out all the dialogues the movies shown in her video, focusing instead on scenes where two actors would gaze at each other, particularly the explosive tension right before a conversation starts, brief but intense moments of silence conveying more emotions than words ever could. The result are collated snippets of instances of eye contact across a selection of movies, chosen for their strong emotional charge. Although they vary widely in style and genre and the footages loosely stitched together, the universal narrative of human connection flows through the jarring changes of scenes and actors.

List of movies included:

[Over the Fence by Nobuhiro Yamashita]
[Closer by Mike Nichols]
[Shine by Scott Hicks]
[Garden State by Zach Braff]
[Blue is the warmest Color by Abdellatif Kechiche]
[Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu]
[Farewell My Concubine by Chen Kaige]
[Away we go by Sam Mendes]
[Cinderella by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske]
[Spirited Away by Hayao Miyjaki]
[The Kids are alright by Lisa Cholodenko]
[Rent by Chris Columbus]
[Mask by Chuck Russell]
[Mommy by Xavier Dolan]
[Total Eclipse by Agnieszka Holland]
[The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan]
[Han gong-ju by Su-Jin Lee]
[Taegukgi Brotherhood Of War by Kang Je-gyu]
[The Host by Bong Joon-ho]
[Breakfast at Tiffany's by Blake Edwards]
[Say Anything by Cameron Crowe]
[About Time by Richard Curtis]




Moi Tran

The Other Day You Sat Too Far Away From Me/ A Memory in Five Parts
First performed at The Henry Moore Courtyard London.
Conceived and created by Moi Tran 
Video duration: 00.05’.11”

For enquiries about this artwork, please email us.

The Other Day You Sat Too Far Away From Me / A Memory In Five Parts is a staged encounter reconfiguring the value of Sadness as a powerful site of alternative knowledge making in the Vietnamese diaspora space. To reconfigure Sadness is to remove the stigma of trauma as a failed experience by celebrating lived knowledge of alternative histories much dependent on inter- generational relations, memory recall, identity, culture and politics.

Removing old epistemic notions of Sadness acts to reduce the continued repression and dominance of vulnerable groups, and by de-stigmatising the suffering of others, we establish more generative and restorative encounters. Sadness is a valuable emotive cognition in communities who have lived through trauma, it holds the capacity to create powerful knowledge and narratives, mobilising agency through empathy to reflect on the depth with which our sense of self is radically dependent on others

In The other day you sat too far away from me – A memory in five parts – Moi Tran examines emotional knowledge through text, music, song and movement in this site specific performance. Here, in the open space of a beautiful courtyard, performers walk in and out of a velvet cube sculpture where only glimpses of them are allowed by the few openings in the box, reminding us about what we see or don’t see, or what we choose to see or not see. Promenading audience members are invited to explore this site and interact with each other however they wish. Together, they activate the space and engage in an open, yet intimate process that transforms the internalized, private experience of mourning into an externalized cognitive bonding highlighting the intrinsic social ties defining our crucial interdependence and moral obligation to one another. In the artist’s words, to share Sadness is not an attempt to cause a nihilistic sense of desperation or depression, but take power in pathos, become aware, share fundamental collective consciousness and empower communities who have experienced histories of loss, displacement and dispossession to take agency.

For more information about the concept behind this work and the artist’s investigation, please read Moi Tran’s research paper here.




Quynh Dong

Trong rùng chuói/ In the banana forest
Video installation,1920 x 1080 HD Color and Sound 
Video duration: 00.44’.49”

For enquiries about this artwork, please email us.

Quynh Dong’s video work In the Banana Forest folds together multiple folkloric concepts as well continues her ongoing examination of stereotypes of Asian (particularly Vietnamese) cultures. In a scene that is hyperreal yet dreamlike, gold-green-clad performers sway and dance amongst crackling banana leaves to the background of the haunting cries of the suona, a traditional Vietnamese instrument played in funerals, punctuated with the gentle rusting of the forest and periods of pensive silence. Shot in one take, the Butoh dancers of In the Banana Forest move as wandering souls, as banana leaves in conversation with each other, and as the music and nature suffusing this mystical realm. Compositionally, the video is inspired by the aesthetics of traditional Vietnamese lacquer paintings. These elements of dance, music, literature, sculpture and painting amalgamate to project a satirized and exoticized image of Asian culture and style.




Kar-Men Cheng

Learning a New Language
Single Channel Video [Size if available]
Video duration: 00.04’.05”

For enquiries about this artwork, please email us.

This diaristic montage of practices and observations charts Kar-men Cheng’s endeavors to develop a sense of rhythm. Everyday, over several periods this year, she recorded herself practicing eight basic rhythms, clapping to a metronome set to 80 beats a minute. She would then play back the video and try to clap in sync with her previously recorded selves, which multiplied with every session and which she hoped would show improvement along the way. Central to this process was her exploration of whether it might change the way she moves through daily life, potentially making way for new connections, internally and with the world around her. Cheng had long been inspired by musically inclined people, who moved and spoke through beats, a language with which they connected with time, emotion, and collective histories.

In the film, the fundamental structure of the clapping practice is weaved into everyday sounds, and interjected periodically by a clay ball rolled between two palms, belonging to the artist and significant people in her life. This meditation on movement speaks to Cheng’s dialogue with rhythm, with others, and with her self. 




Marcin Dudek

Sovereign Heads, Yeo Workshop, Singapore

For enquiries about this artwork, please email us.

Continuing the tradition of foregoing an opening speech in favour of performative action, Marcin Dudek uses his well-established vocabulary of smoke, fire, and destruction to activate a happening at Yeo Workshop in Singapore. The space itself is located on a former military base, and the past inhabitants of these barracks were no strangers to smoke grenades, which were often used as camouflage. Using military tactics, with no publicity around the performance, the smoke and fire came as a surprise to the visitors. While the art gallery environment gives a sense of security, one still experiences elements which trigger a sense of emergency. The visitors were rushed outdoors as the space filled with smoke, pouring out of the front doors and throughout the crowd, standing outside and waiting for the space to once again become safe and neutral. This movement reminds one of crowd control strategies during emergencies - evacuation protocols are employed, as people rush to safety. Once allowed back in, one notices that permanent marks of the performance dot the space - smoke grenades have painted the walls and burnt holes, leaving a reminder of the actions long after they have passed.

This site specific performance employed the use of materials that spoke to the history of the performance venue, in this case smoke grenades in a former military barracks, evoking imagery that prompted viewers to contemplate the solemn past of a now vibrant and modern arts destination. Dudek’s performance was intentionally unscripted and unannounced. The coloured smoke billowing through the gallery, transformed the space into a “dangerous” zone and ignited different emotional states of anxiety, fear, confusion, uncertainty and amusement in the audience. Dudek’s performative happening leaves an unusual and enduring moment of thought for the audience to reflect on the actions of destruction and creation.