An Invocation to the Earth
by Yeo Siew Hua
16:10 min video
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.
An Invocation to the Earth work was commissioned by TBA21 for its online st_age platform.