Everything Disappears revolves around four people from Taiwan who answered a call to participate in a film by artist Kevin Gaffney, which would explore ideas of self-image, performance and identity. Portrayals of the four participants unravel across intimate scenes to surreal staged events, mediating an exchange between reality, reconstruction and mythological imagination.
Each participant appears in a multiplicity of imagined realities, which unfold across seven chapters: (i) Everything Disappears, (ii) I Grip Tightly to the Sand, (iii) An Exercise in Forgetting, (iv) The Elephant on the Roof, (v) They are Known by Many Names, (vi) The Ghost Ship, and (vii) The Closed Eyes of a Stranger.
The spoken words of the characters bring us through a series of psychological landscapes, reflecting on the relationships we have with ourselves, our lovers and our native countries. “Don’t go through with the future, sit together here in peace. Time has stopped the ocean, continental drift won’t bring us near.”
The artist wrote the script in response to his experience of Taiwan and worked closely with the four participants (Revanshu, William Hsu, Lucie Chen & Issac Tsai) in creating the performance, with some scenes being formulated together in a collaborative process. The resulting film acts as a reflection on their interpersonal relationships, while also capturing their gradual transformation from participant-to-character on screen.
During the project, I received an email from a young Taiwanese gay man whose story resonated with the ideas I was exploring. He had escaped compulsory army conscription by revealing his existing mental illness to a doctor who- following a stay in a psychiatric hospital- assessed him and decided that he was not fit to serve. He told me of the need to perform his illness in order for it to be observed and recorded, and the subsequent deterioration of his grasp on reality. I wanted to tell his story, while respecting his need to stay anonymous. As such, he is an an unseen fifth participant, his story told by a voice actor.
Kevin Gaffney (b. 1987, Dublin) is a visual artist working in film. In 2012, he was awarded the Little White Lies Award from the London Short Film Festival. In 2014, he was awarded an UNESCO-Aschberg Bursary for a residency at the National Art Studio at the National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Korea. He graduated from the Royal College of Art's MA Photography & Moving Image in 2011.
His work has been shown in film festivals internationally, including; The London Short Film Festival at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (2012), WNDX Festival of Moving Image in Canada (2012), The Big Screen at Latitude Festival (in association with Lux, Cine-City and Supernormal Festival, 2012), Abandon Normal Devices at the Cornerhouse in Manchester (2012), The Brighton Film Festival (2011) and FEST International Film Festival in Portugal (2011) and the Poetry Project at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin (2013). Solo exhibitions include the Contemporary Art Institute in Sapporo (Japan, 2014), and the Galway Arts Centre (Ireland, 2013).
Written & Directed by Kevin Gaffney
Narration: James Lo
Camera: Chen-Chih Chan
Sound Recordists: Kang Yung- Chien
& Jimmy Lin
Sound Recording Assistant: Mao-Mao Wong
Script Translation: Ching Ching Yang
On Set Translation: Karen Kuan
Production Assistant: Ching Ching Yang
Design: Pradeep Mahadeshwar
Everything Disappears was created on residency at the Taipei Artist Village, and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland’s Film Project Award. Post-production was supported by the Fire Station Artist Studio's Digital Media Award.