Fiona Tan (b. 1966)
News from the Near Future (2003)
video projection, 2003
duration: 9 min. 30 sec.

News from the Near Future is a large video projection positioned low on the wall, minimum size 4 metres wide – an image intended to engulf the viewer. It is made almost entirely of material selected from very early (silent) news reels and inspired in part by my readings of J.G. Ballard. The film fragments used in this work are from the archive of the Nederlands Filmmuseum.

‘News from the Near Future begins with a woman with a parasol and two children standing in a cave’s mouth. It is a great opening image to a story that doesn’t exist. The sound of the sea is indistinguishable from the white noise of an untuned radio or the roar in your ears before fainting. Most of this film is taken up with boats at sea, strong light slanting on waves, a ketch wallowing inthe troughs, the view from the bowsprit of a whaler as it nears its prey. There are ships in trouble, and a flooded Dutch town with the inhabitants punting up the high street; then magenta skies, silhouetted sails, a slow orange sunset. [...]

‘One repeated image is extremely curious. I am still uncertain what I saw. A man in a hat and smart coat stands on a rock at the water’s edge. The tides seems to be coming in, cutting him off from dry land. He peers about, hesitant and uncertain on his little rock, like a man waylaid by water in his town clothes, as though he had amde a footling, spontaneous decision which he is about to regret. I wait for him to slip but he doesn’t.’
- Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 5 April 2005

"Ten Women Who Use Film" curated by Jennifer Higgie