Fantastic Voyage: Panta Rhei
In this video artwork by KWA, we swim among pulsing fields of color and biomorphic forms which resemble throbbing cells and nerves. We see each composition of stringy and circular textured color for ten or eleven seconds, and then the camera zooms quickly, left, right, up or down, to a new texture. Most of the compositions have the same wide color range: primary blue, red and green are prominent, along with secondary tones. All the movement generated is cyclical: spinning or vibrating.Nothing moves very far in or out of the field of view, and this intensifies the biomorphic quality: we are looking at the interior of an organism, with its floating cells. Watching the film felt, for me, very much like taking a tour through the inside of the body, with a magical camera that can zoom in and amplify subtle biological processes.
The sound, scratching, pulsing, throbbing quietly, closely mirrors the images, subtly changing its texture in tandem with the camera. One could imagine these gentle, rhythmically pulsing roars as the sounds one might hear inside a blood vessel.
At eight minutes, the film is consistently engaging, and the complex beauty of the compositions pulls us into the world of the film, simultaneously confined within narrow parameters and exhibiting great variety. Clearly, the film could work equally well in a theatrical screening or as an installation piece in a gallery or museum.
Like a musical composition, the film’s overall sequence is highly structured. For example, the sequence of textures at the end of the film is nearly the same as in the film’s opening, only in reverse order.
The title comes from the Greek Heraclitus’ philosophical dictum that “all is flow.” It’s interesting to note that the film doesn’t actually depict a world that changes or develops over time, rather, it depicts a sequence of diverse, cyclical textures, each of which feels relatively stable in its oscillation, and some of which reappear multiple times, unchanged. It’s a vision, not of a universe in flux, but of a complex, multilayered but stable system, much like a healthy organism.
In Panta Rhei, KWA takes us for an abstract ride through a universe that may seem strange and compellingly beautiful, but which also feels as intimate and personal as our own bodies.