Downside Up

2002

b&w, mono
1 video projector, 1 media player/dvd player, dimensions variable

Downside Up looks like a film noir, distorted black shapes dart across the picture differentiated only by their size and movement. These are, in fact, the long shadows of people on a street. But Tan has turned the filmed image upside down. Through this reversal the negative form of the shadows looks like the actual body moving across the paving. The shadows give the bodies an abstracted quality, creating a feeling of sameness, lose the body’s identity from its image. The shadows could also be seen as alter egos, a second self, thereby projecting another state of consciousness. The reality of the street thus becomes a place of illusions without fixed parameters – or as Fiona Tan writes in a text which begins the film: ‘…I lose my bearings. But after all, is that such a bad thing?’