The Poets

The Poets
SD Video 16:9 Anamorphic
Duration 7 min (loop)
2006

The Poets is a play on the language of the theatrical, the poetic and the cinematic, and their potential to manipulate trust in relation to image, text and language. Two Chinese actors play out a dramatic scenario in a destroyed film set. Their manner is pompous and emotional. The English subtitles, formed from excerpts from poetry by T.S. Elliot, do not match the audio. The spoken Mandarin is actually the actors relaying their physical stage directions. The Poets explores the mystery of the language of ‘the other’ – in this case the Mandarin speaker – for whom the work would have a completely different set of meanings.

Made during a residency at Red Gate Gallery, Beijing.
Featuring Wán Zhuó and Mã Áng.
On Set Translator Gao Yi Gang.
Script Translator Lu Yinghua.
Music composed by Ding Wei.
Thanks to Nathaniel McMahon, Zhao Hui Wang.
Supported by Arts Council England, The British Council, VIVID, Shangri-la Culture & Arts Centre Beijing.