Dance of a Humble Atheist_도 훈 핑 Toh Hun Ping

Dance of a Humble Atheist_도 훈 핑 Toh Hun Ping


Singapore /  2019 / Color / Silent / 17 min / HD

Dance of a Humble Atheist, which comprises several hundred ceramic tiles, is Toh’s conceptual allegory on belief, death, and a possible afterlife, with a quick squint at consciousness, abstraction, and aesthetics. His exuberant primordial soup of a video work churns with images that are agitating and alien—yet they hint at the infinitely familiar.  An existential journey of semi-abstract imagery inspired by the artist's personal ruminations on death, spiritual faith, nature, and the cosmos. From the funeral of a dying being, a wondrous cornucopia afterlife, to a phosphoric revolt of consciousness.

This film is created entirely using digital scans of ceramic reliefs produced at Pinch Ceramics Studio (Singapore). For his new project, rather than a scratch or etch directly on film, Toh created filmic avatars in clay and then scanned these components one by one, editing the images to render ferocious swells of stop-motion animated pattern and movement. The use of clay in stop-motion film might conjure up malleable “claymation” figures, but the visual underpinnings of Dance are founded in 600 unique handmade “film-frames” that were each inscribed with fissures, apertures, and intricate matrices before being glazed and fired.

Dance of a Humble Atheist unfolds in a three-part “narrative.” The first segment is titled “Funeral,” which assails the eye with underexposed, melancholic topographies and static that unravel into something resembling atoms, or galaxies. Then comes the gratifying “Cornucopia,” with compositions that first insinuate white light and tunnels: these mutate into radiant configurations that suggest mitosis, and which then flower into translucent, pulsating honeycomb-motifs. Geometric devices stagger out of this deluge in graceful intimations of primordial awareness. Finally, there is "Phosphorus,” where kaleidoscopic light-patterns transmigrate into lucid (presumably rational and skeptical) cohesion.

In Dance of a Humble Atheist, Toh choreographs his existential questions as an indescribable “dance” of temporal and spiritual symbolism—which is, incidentally, both exhausting and exhilarating to watch. Viscerally, his kinetic imagery elicits trippy scenarios involving molecules, cells, and stars—the genesis of life, as filtered through a delirious collective consciousness. Cognitively, there is a simple and utter delight at the technical virtuosity behind Toh’s sleight of hand. Out of lifeless clay (the corniest of metaphors), the artist animates the subliminal touchstones of existence. (MARYBETH STOCK, ArtAsiaPacific)

도 훈 핑은 실험영화 감독이자 영화 연구자이다. 그의 영화는 저항, 여행, 시간, 상실, 그리고 정신적 불안정이라는 광범위한 주제를 시각적으로 설명한다. 이것들은 방콕 실험영화 페스티벌, 파리 실험영화 페스티벌 등 국제적 영화 페스티벌에서 상영되었고 비디오 설치와 라이브 퍼포먼스 프로젝션으로 미술계에서 선보여졌다. 다음 비디오 작품 준비의 일환으로, 그는 20세기 초중반 싱가포르의 영화사에 대해 연구하고 있다. 그는 또한 싱가포르에서 만들어진 영화의 사적  콜렉션인 싱가포르 필름 로케이션 아카이브를 운영하고 있으며, 오래된 흥미로운 싱가포르 영화 위원회에 대한 블로그와 웹사이트를 관리하고 있다(; 그는 싱가포르 국립 박물관 시네마테크와 아시아 필름 아카이브(스테이트 오브 모션, 셀룰로이드 보이드 2)에서 필름 프로그램을 위한 연구자로 일해왔다.

Toh Hun Ping is an experimental filmmaker and film researcher. His films visually expound on broad themes of resistance, travel, time, loss and mental instability. They have screened at international film festivals (Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Paris Festival of Different and Experimental Cinemas) and were presented in art venues both as video installations and live-performance projections (Sculpture Square and Substation, Singapore; KLEX, Kuala Lumpur). In preparation for his next video work, he is researching into the history of film production in early-mid 20th century Singapore. He also runs the Singapore Film Locations Archive, a private video collection of films made in Singapore, and maintains a blog and a website about the intrigues of old Singapore film locations (; He has worked on a freelance basis as a researcher for film programmes at the National Museum of Singapore Cinémathèque (Foundation of Run Run Shaw’s Cinema Empire, Gems of Amoy Cinema) and the Asian Film Archive (State of Motion, Celluloid Void 2).

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