Hayoun Kwon’s imaginative and immersive new digital animation, I Suddenly Hear the Flap of Wings, is the second program in On the Hour, which features moving-image works commissioned for BAMPFA’s outdoor screen. The short video is related to Kwon’s new virtual reality piece, The Bird Lady. Both center on a story that Kwon’s teacher Daniel Nadaud told her while she was a student in Nantes, France. “It was like a gift, a common space that we can share . . . this experience lived by a woman he met in 1967. . . . In the middle of Paris, without the slightest concern for her neighbors, she had transformed her apartment into a veritable aviary,” Kwon says. For her, The Bird Lady and I Suddenly Hear the Flap of Wings are not far apart from earlier documentary animations such as 489 Years, based on interviews with a South Korean soldier, or Lack of Evidence, drawing on the testimony of a Nigerian asylum seeker in France. “When I was working on more ‘political’ realities, what interested me, what I was trying to achieve most of all, was the ‘unreality’ of certain landscapes described in the stories of real characters. . . . What I wanted to portray through these personal stories was the moment when reality seemed to tip over into fiction for them. In this sense, the story Daniel told me is not so far from these personal stories. I wouldn’t have kept them to myself for so long if they had not carried me away.”
Kwon will present and discuss her digital and virtual reality works, including The Bird Lady, 489 Years, Lack of Evidence, and more, at two programs in the Barbro Osher Theater in November.