Japan Media Arts Festival  
21st

Art Division

Grand Prize

Interstices / Opus I – Opus II

Video installation

Haythem ZAKARIA [Tunisia]

© Haythem Zakaria

Outline

While “Opus I” captures the static desert’s landscape, “Opus II” catches the dynamic marine expanse. As a result of the videos digital process, this installation project reveals a “meta-landscape” that goes beyond the original landscape. The title “Interstices” refers to the Latin word interstitium (inter for “between” and sistere as “to stand, to place”). It relates to the idea of intervals both of space and time.

The horizontal black and white footage of the landscape is layered with monochromatic geometries (squares, rectangles, straight lines) and intermittent natural sounds (wind, waves, etc.). These elements reveal the order and the rhythm hidden within the nature. These images were captured in the north african Sahara of Tunisia, the homeland of the artist. A place that faces political and international issues such as the flow of migrants trying to reach Europe, facing the borders obstacle and the extreme conditions of this crossing.

Yet this work shows no trace of any human presence or social activity, focusing only on the images of nature, a nature that shows an internal order and harmony. The video, in which time and space are shown as abstractions while human activities remain absent, questions the essence of land and landscape.

Reason

As I view the submissions for this festival, I get the sense that they can be separated into two major categories: those which use technology to surprise the senses, and those which shake up the viewers’ thoughts by going through their senses. Haythem ZAKARIA’s work Interstices /Opus I Opus II belongs to the latter category. It informs us that a “landscape” is not something that exists physically, but rather, “something that is to be interpreted.” Like turning the pages of a philosophy book, each scene steers the viewers’ thoughts quietly yet radically. The specific images of continuous horizons across an ocean or land, the abstract shapes, and even the sounds ask the viewers, “What is landscape?” “What is perspective?” This work, which is relatively static compared to other submissions, gradually drew forth the judges’ curiosity and was selected for the Grand Prize. There is great significance in the selection of this piece, which provided proof that media plays an important role in expanding not only our senses, but our thoughts as well. (FUJIMOTO Yukio) 


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