Vong Phaonphanit and Claire Oboussier


Inspiration to Order

University Art Gallery, California State University, Stanislaus


ISBN: 0-9773967-7-0

Vong Phaophanit

All that’s solid melts into air (Karl Marx)


The desire of the film is to show rather than to say. The process of shooting the material, whilst conscious, is without intention   it is both conscious and unconscious. My guiding principal is the rejection of cliche. I do not work with preconceived ideas of how I might use the material I am collecting. When filming I am acutely aware of the 'act' of filming   I try to find a place, a balance, where I am not imposing myself or the camera. I try to act with discretion but also without becoming a voyeur or a spy   I am always very conscious of the way I am 'taking' the images, to give them the greatest possible space from which to make their meaning. This is a delicate and precarious process. The scenes that I film are chosen simply because they 'touch' me in some way: a melancholic atmosphere, a particular light or sound, an unexpected scene, a trace... The images are simultaneously strange and familiar. Each shot is treated like a tableau, a fragment. For this particular project I have shot over 10 hours of material in this way during two visits to the town Luang Prabang in Laos. I am left with a mass of fragmented scenes, images and sounds.


It is at this point that a new creative process begins. There is no narrative structure   the film evolves as a 'tissage' of images, places, sounds. Despite the apparently arbitrary nature of this process it is fascinating to see the language and new meaning that is generated through it   it often seems is if there is a certain synchronicity at work. As with the 'act' of shooting, the process of editing involves giving the maximum space for the images to 'speak' in their own terms.


This is the way I work; I show things and allow them to speak, I avoid any preconceived narrative but rather work towards a kind of liberation of the image/material so that it can create new meaning.


The text for the film (in the form of a voiceover) that Claire Oboussier is producing is generated alongside the images, simultaneously but independently, and without any direct or intentional relation to them. Claire's way of writing is close to my own process of making images described above   we share a similar 'ethos' in our working processes. Her writing is the antithesis of descriptive or illustrative writing. Poetic, fragmented, oneiric   the words will play the role of 'acoustic images' within the body of the film.


When, at the end of the editorial process, we 'place' the text in the film (as voice) - it is treated in exactly the some way as the images. We try to give image and word as much liberty as possible to generate their own discursive dimension. We experiment to see how different fragments of text and image behave when placed alongside each other   it is a wonderful process   to see meaning ‘in production' before one's eyes.


Vong Phaophanit

Claire Oboussier.

© Phaophanit and Oboussier Studio 2006



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