QUEST or Q u E S t

Quest or Quest traces a personal encounter with the exhibition Jaafar Latiff: In The Time of Textile. The result takes aesthetic and narrative cues from fantasy and science fiction tropes, adapting fragments of Jaafar Latiff’s batik works into a metaphysical landscape. Microscopic visualisations of warp and weft of the textiles enmesh with vignettes of an alternate fictional environment, mapped by an unnamed consciousness. Fragmented scenes of parks and wharfs, pixels and scans emerge at different scales to create an intoxicating headspace of terror and euphoria.

More obscure aspects of Jaafar’s practice, such as his foray into computer graphics in the 1990s, are highlighted through a focus on non-human perspectives and dissonant settings. Quest or Quest seeks to reconsider Jaafar’s practice through an alternate lens, interweaving glimpses of Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) deep fakes, an image synthesis technique that generates faces based on machine learning, into a multi-layered landscape. 

Works that inspired this film include Jaafar’s Wandering series, Fortune Teller (1967), Self Portrait (1989) and Sea Port of Singapore (1987). The film features artworks at 20X to 200X magnification under a Keyence VHX- 6000 digital microscope, courtesy of the Heritage Conservation Centre.
HD video, single-channel screening / colour / sound / 2021
6 min 35 sec

Commissioned and screened by National Gallery Singapore for Painting with Light: Festival of International Films on Art

Supported by Heritage Conservation Centre of Singapore