stephanie syjuco

 

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> Body Double (Platoon/Apocalypse Now/Hamburger Hill)
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Body Double (Platoon/Apocalypse Now/Hambuerger Hll), installation view

Body Double (Platoon), video still

Body Double (Platoon/Apocalypse Now/Hamburger Hill)
2007

Three channel video on flat panel LCDs, unsynched, endlessly looped, silent

Building from an earlier single-channel video piece, this three-channel version of "Body Double" consists of silent moving sequences of a tropical landscape that fades slowly in and out, interspersed with varying durations of a completely black screen. The scenes of sky, mountains, foliage, and rivers are "cropped" in squares and rectangles that at times take up just small portions of the full screen, and, occasionally, scenes that take up the complete screen. I used the three Hollywood films and edited out all the scenes of battle and dialogue, cropping the frame to focus in on the peripheral landscapes (if any) in an attempt to "search for the Philippines."

The overwhelming majority of Hollywood Vietnam war movies are filmed in the Philippines, including Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and Hamburger Hill. As a "body double" for Vietnam, the Philippines occupies a strange place in the imagination of the American public--a physically "insignificant" place and also a completely familiar place via its substitution for Vietnam. This video project ignores the original filmic narrative to focus on my own attempts at discovering my place of birth--a kind of reworked "home movie". The resulting videos look like ambient, minimalist imagery of landscapes and closeups of flora and fauna.

The entire running time of the films are the exact running time of the "original" movie, and the sequencing of images is unchanged. There is a corresponding pacing with the original film in that there are cuts and scenery that build to several climactic chase scenes, further heightening the feeling of an implied, but missing, filmic narrative.

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