Disorient (Works)

2 channel HD installation
2 HD projectors, 2 media players, 2 surround amplifiers,
8 surround speakers, 2 white projection screens min. 320 x 222 cm and 480 x 333 cm

Disorient was conceived specially for the presentation in the Dutch Pavilion and points to the strategic geopolitical position held by Venice in the distant past. The starting point for this work is the book, The Travels, recalled 700 years ago by the Venetian merchant Marco Polo. Filmed on location in the Dutch pavilion itself, the voice-over for this encompassing installation is comprised solely of quotes taken from Marco Polo’s book. Disorient builds a bridge across centuries and raises critical questions about contemporary globalism and its origins.

Fiona Tan has involved herself with Venice before – albeit indirectly – by referring in Facing Forward (1999) to Italo Calvino’s texts that imagine Marco Polo’s conversations with Kublai Kahn. Disorient juxtaposes time and place, fiction and reality. Tan writes: ‘The young Marco intrigues but also irritates me. He embodies in several ways the ideal traveller – neither colonialist, warrior nor politician, he has no goal, no final destination. I am straining to see and imagine the future beyond the restrictive dichotomy of East and West. And thus a lost and much altered historical document is my contemporary companion. Venice is – literally and figuratively speaking – my point of departure and return, and this merchant of Venice is my unlikely guide.’


Screen 1 was filmed on location in the Dutch Pavilion, Venice