‘An Invocation to the Earth,’ 2020 Yeo Siew Hua

Deep in the tropical rainforest of Southeast Asia, a series of incantations invoke the spirits of yore, including those of the nimble, tricksy Kancil (mouse-deer) and the ferocious Buaya (crocodile). The ancient animals enact their folkloric vendetta in a furious dance of dominance, yet long-overdue vengeance is shrouded in smoke. Meanwhile, an effigy of a tree is burning, summoning a whole other host of spectres and ancestors. Conceived during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival in 2019, while large-scale fires were consuming the forests of Indonesia, Yeo Siew Hua’s An Invocation to the Earth confronts climate collapse through the lens of pre-colonial folktales and animistic rituals. Through spoken spells and bodily entanglements, the video conjures up the fallen environmental defenders of a region ridden with ecological threats in the hope that their spirits will be reborn once again.

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28/09 2020
Yeo Siew Hua
An Invocation to the Earth, 2020
Single-channel video, color, sound
16 min 10 sec
Writer Director Yeo Siew Hua | Performance Choreography Eng Kai Er and Chloe Chotrani | Executive Producer Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza | Cinematographer Russel Morton | Mask and Effigy Design Mike Chang | Research Writer Dan Koh | Incantation Zarina Muhammad | Location Sound Hussin Ismail | Sound Design and Mixer Yen Yu Ting | Assistant Director Yang Ysiwanxuan Vicki | Editor Daniel Hui | 1st Camera Assistant Calvin Phua | 2nd Camera Operator Eric Lee | Art Directors Nicole Ho and Tricia Lim | Key Grip Zhang Yuanhui | Voice Over Zarina Muhammad, Tini Aliman, Marco Viaña, and K. Rajagopal | Creature Sound Design Jared Chan | Folley Artists Jared Chan, Loo Zhen Yang, and Jeremiah Chew | Elijay Castro Deldoc | Art Assistants Lim Sham, Chloe Tan, Suzie Shin, Renee Ting, Melissa Lim, and Zou Zhao | Grip Nelson Yeo | 2nd Camera Assistant Istravino Manuel | Fire Supervision Chester Hey
With the support of Akanga Film Asia, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, GRYD, and 13 Little Pictures
Coproduced by Singapore International Film Festival and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) for st_age
  • Climate action
  • Life on land
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions