Russell MORTON

About The Artists

Russell Adam Morton (b.1982) is a Singaporean film and visual artist. He has exhibited his films at the NTU CCA, National Museum of Singapore, NOWNESS Asia and at numerous

international film festivals. His short films have explores folkloric myths, esoteric rituals and the conventions of cinema itself. Of late, his work taken a choreographic turn through collaboration with movement and dance artists. Saudade was commissioned by the Asian Film Archive, and was screened at the 31st Singapore International Film Festival (2020). His first feature film project, Penumbra, participated at SGIFF South East Asian Film Lab 2020 and is currently in development.

Russell MORTON

"Now, the ghosts hides away from the non-believers. Its only way to survive is to reclaim its existence in this world and for its stories to continue to exist"

About The Artwork

Saudade

Single-channel colour video with sound

Saudade is an audio-visual archive of the vanishing language of Kristang, a Portuguese-Malaccan creole once spoken by the Eurasian community in Singapore and Malaysia. Narrated entirely in Kristang, the film tells a story of loss and displacement. It opens with a fragmented, abstracted dance—the branyo, to the accompaniment of the traditional folk song “Jinkli Nona”. In the second sequence, a fisherman recalls how the sea channel used to be teeming with gragok (shrimp), with land reclamation and construction projects eventually causing a depletion - a metaphor for the exodus of Eurasian community from its hometown, Malacca. Finally, the last section depicts a confrontation with the orang minyak (oily man), a supernatural figure of Malay folklore who is impossible to catch. Ghosts and spirits are an integral part of Eurasian culture; many of these elements were borrowed from other cultures present in Southeast Asia, not unlike the interstitial nature of the ghost itself. The film ends with a plea: “Now, the ghosts hides away from the non-believers. Its only way to survive is to reclaim its existence in this world and for its stories to continue to exist.”

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