Part of an ongoing, overarching project that examines the historic avant-garde across visual disciplines, 'The Man Who' explores the inter-relationships and cross-referenciality of film and cinema, alongside art movements like Expressionism, Surrealism, Futurism and Cubism.
The work pays homage to the silent movie era and the iconic works of early cinematic innovators, such as George Méliès, Dziga Vertov and Fritz Lang, as well as later figures who continued to experiment with the genre, like Maya Deren, Hans Richter, Stan Brakhage and David Lynch. Echoing the experimental approach of these pioneers, the video playfully combines various in-camera animation techniques, ranging from stop-motion, to time-lapse and hyperlapse, as well as live, staged footages and text frames and intertitles.
Expanding beyond the projection screen, the work jumps frame to occupy the gallery walls as a site-specific painting. Under the guise of an experimental narrative short feature, the project is also a tribute and an attempt to visualise the conditions and aspirations of the nameless studio workers who operate behind the camera. Indeed, reel-life and real-life mirror each other and the work draws upon Balanon’s own background working for a major Japanese film company, where he was ‘a man who’ was amongst the anonymous many who produced the innumerable hand-drawn illustrations required for an animation.
Image rights: Collection of the Artist (Commissioned by Singapore Art Museum)