Xiào 孝 (courtesy of the artist)

Dialogues with the Unseen: Short Films from Southeast Asia

April 30–August 29
Museum of the Moving Image – Video Screening Amphitheater

A common thread connecting many of the singular and diverse cultures across Southeast Asia is a deeply held belief in an invisible realm, unseen forces that shape our world. These can manifest as souls of the deceased; guardian spirits; or the potent energies of places, animals, or things—all of which imply a fundamental union between material and immaterial, and dissolves boundaries between presence and absence, past and present.

The films in this program, made by artists from Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, exist at this spiritual threshold. Via personal hauntings, memories of loss or trauma, or relationships with ancestors and nature spirits, these filmmakers dramatize how unseen forces actively shape identity, memory, and belonging, and are testament to the potential for transcendence through interconnectedness.

Organized by guest curator Juliette Yu-Ming Lizeray

The following works screen continously:

Shireen Seno (b. 1983, Tokyo; lives and works in the Philippines)
A child dies, a child plays, a woman is born, a woman dies, a bird arrives, a bird flies off, 2021 
Video (color, sound), 5 mins.

Tulapop Saenjaroen (b. 1986, Thailand)
The Return, 2008
Video (color, sound), 5 mins.

Toh Hun Ping (b. 1978, Singapore)
Cartographer Mapping Scarscapes #1, 2005
Video (color, sound), 5 mins.

Trinh Thi Nguyễn (b. 1973, Vietnam)
Landscape Series #1, 2013
Video (color, sound), 5 mins.

Cristian Tablazon (b. 1985, Philippines)
The Visible World, 2021
Video (b&w, sound), 6 mins.

Cahyo Prayogo (b. 1988, Indonesia)
Xiào, 2014
Video (color, sound), 4:30 mins.