“Swallowed Whole” is a somber, animated, experimental film about surviving extreme isolation and physical limitations as a result of traumatic injury. The film weaves together photos, animations, videos and sound recordings and takes the viewer on an abbreviated jarring journey through physical and psychological landscapes of hospitalization and recovery. Some of the imagery and sounds were collected during The Arctic Circle 2013 Summer Solstice Expedition, an international research expedition for artists, writers, and scientists.
Edited to emphasize the physical impact of dropping, crashing, and slamming, the video repeats vertical frame-rolls from analog TV to metaphorically replay the impact that literally broke her back. The bone-crushing sounds and jarring movement echo throughout the film mirroring the repetition of trauma, and the trauma of repetition, commonly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. The recurring instability of the image reflects the fragility of her injured body while providing a palpable experience for the viewer. The piece is inspired in part by Joan Jonas’ “Vertical Roll,” (1972) which uses a common analog television set malfunction to create a shifting stage of activity. “Swallowed Whole” uses fragmentation to both tell and disrupt the story and serves as a window of empathy into PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) repetition compulsion.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Heidi Kumao is a media artist who creates video installations and kinetic sculpture. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in the USA and internationally including solo shows at the Museu da Imagem e do Som (São Paulo), Museu de Arte Moderne (Buenos Aires) and Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. She has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, and the New York Foundation for the Arts and her work has been reviewed in Artforum, Art Papers, Sculpture Magazine, and Afterimage. Her sculptural and photographic work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Arizona State University Art Museum, and Light Work. She teaches at the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.
Kumao’s previous films for gallery/museum video installations include: Egress (2014), Transplant (2010), Tether (2010), Trace (2010), Correspondence (2008).
“Swallowed Whole” is her first experimental, single channel piece for the screen. “Swallowed Whole” has received awards from the Female Eye Film Festival (Best Experimental), Seoul International Extreme-Short Image & Film Festival (Best Experimental/Documentary), Humboldt International Film Festival (Best Experimental), 34th Black Maria Film Festival (Jury’s Choice Award – 1st Prize) and Videoholica International Video Art Festival (Bronze Videoholic Award).