>> In collaboration with MEL HSIEH featuring by DUTCH E GERM
COLD SINGLE (2019, 5 min 39s, Taiwan) is a new experimental short film by artist ITEM IDEM (Cyril Duval) in collaboration with Taiwanese director MEL HSIEH & featuring a musical score by American producer DUTCH E GERM (Tim DeWit).
Based in Asia (Japan, China, Taiwan) for many years, the French multimedia artist CYRIL DUVAL has constantly been dwelling on local resources of folklore, religions, and industrial aesthetics to create a multidimensional body of work: Through his projects like ITEM IDEM, or SHANZHAI BIENNIAL, his practice spans conceptual media, films, sculptures and incorporates the aesthetic of product design and the codes of visual communication.
Continuing of his ongoing exploration of Taoist rituals and Chinese heritage via the medium of film, ITEM IDEM has partnered with the Taiwanese director MEL HSIEH to create a multilayered visual storytelling emphasizing the thought process behind the motivation to take part in the dangerous religious ritual of ‘Bombing Master Handan’. The Taoist ceremony — endemic to the town of Taitung, in the south east of Taiwan — stands at the crossroads of extreme body performance and devotion to religious practice. In search of good fortune (both practically and metaphorically), young men will embody Handan, the god of wealth, by exposing their naked bodies to exploding firecrackers projected at them.
Presenting this rare religious act in new ways (high-speed sport cameras were attached to the performers’ bodies), the two artists reveal a glimpse of the human emotion at work behind such a powerful and dangerous performance: Is social redemption the key motivator behind such a willingness to partake, or is it the simple desire to break free from a harsh life and obtain favor of the gods in hopes for a better future?