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IFP Pop-up Show and Performance by Serge Onnen

Institute for Provocation is very glad to have our residency artist in 2012 Serge Onnen back in Beijing from 29th May to 8th June with his latest film Cloacinae! On 5th June, a pop-up show and performance by Serge Onnen at IFP’s Black Sesame Space, opening at 5pm.

His other public programs in town include:

3pm – 5pm, 2nd June, artist talk an screening of Cloacinae at Chao Art Center

1:30pm – 3pm, 3rd June, artist talk and screening of Cloacinae at UCCA

4:30pm onwards, 3rd June, book launch of Onnen’s latest book I Am a Lone Monk Walking the World with a Leaky Umbrella at Dream-Co 798

8pm, 8th June, screening of Cloacinae at Camera Stylo and farewell party

About Serge Onnen

Serge Onnen is an artist who works with different media, but mainly drawing and many pre-cinematographic techniques and has shown his work in museums and galleries around the world. In a time when the moving image is nothing exceptional anymore it's interesting to work with the most primitive once, the many forgotten technics of pre-cinema.

His work deals with the ideas of value in all their forms, economical and emotional values. The work that will specially be made for Black Sesame Space, refers to the first live performances he made in Beijing in 2012 under the name "the value of nothing". In these performances, trash found around the locations of the venues where the performances where taking place was used a backdrop for the puppets. Plastic bottles, empty food packages, empty plastic bags, etc. In this new installation, the volume of these empty shells will be used as a cast for ice shapes. The cold and beautiful shapes coming out of these packages will be put on display behind the screen and the melting process will be the slowly moving backdrop of the immobile puppets. The background is constantly being refreshed with new ice shapes. The viewer can go backstage to see puppets and this process.

still image from Cloacinae

About the Cloacinae Project

After researching during the period of 6 months the ancient art of Chinese shadow puppets in Beijing, Serge Onnen met Amsterdam-based animator Sverre Fredriksen (1981, Drammen, Norway). They talked about making a film using this nearly extinct art of puppets carved out transparent animal skin. Mr. Fredriksen had started experiments with filming frozen liquids and they found out that combining these two very different semi-transparent materials would make an interesting film. In 2014, Mr. Onnen went back to China to work with musician, puppeteers and craftsmen to carve the character developed out of animal skin for Cloacinae. Li Daiguo, a well known figure in the experimental music scene in China made the soundtrack for the film using a array of Asian and western old instruments.

An animation film using Chinese shadow puppets and a large number of pre-cinematographic technics such as phenakistoscopes, zootropes and kaleidoscopes. All the characters have been cut from animal skin by Chinese craftsmen in the traditional way. Chinese shadow-puppetry can be seen as the oldest form of moving projected images. This will be the first screening of the film in Asia. 'L'etat, c'est l'égout" - 'The sewer, is the state' (Jules Ferry, French statesman). Every modern societies built on two invisible and indispensable systems, the sanitary and the monetary system. When something goes wrong with one of these two, our civilization is in danger. Cloacinae is the name of the Roman god of the first sewers ever built. In this shadow puppet film we follow the journey of a cent who has fallen into the sewer system.


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