Sealed Faithful Halls – Anna Fotiadou – Cyprus

“Confidently crossing an imagined border between experimental film and video poetry, Anna Fo‘s Sealed Faithful Halls is an outstanding instance of both. The poetic text is spoken by the film-maker and readable in subtitles. Before the poem arrives there is a two-minute visual introduction with a freely-shifting musical soundscape by Theofanis Avraam. Both of these wordless elements of the film are brilliant as well.” M. Craven

Sealed Faithful Halls is a record of thoughts, feelings and ways in which an artist ‘sees’ everything that passes in front of her. Mark Rothko‘s painting techniques become the cause for the allegorical relationship of form-space, reality-illusion, language-text.

The video was selected by the Ministry of Education and Culture Cyprus for the project “50 Shorts VS Covid-19”, through the lens of Cypriot creators, as one of 50 shorts created during the pandemic in spring 2020, exploring life under conditions of confinement and global crisis.

Director Biography – Anna Fotiadou

Anna Fo is a multidisciplinary artist and educator with specialisation in video art and direction. She received her Bachelor degree in Graphic Communication from the University of Nicosia and holds a Master degree in Performance Design and Practice from the University of The Arts London, with a specialisation in ‘Postmodern multimedia performance and video art’. She attended art courses, workshops and seminars in Cyprus and abroad and completed an art residency program in Amsterdam (Netherlands 2016) funded by the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, where she presented “Low Barometer” —a theater play through the use of video mapping and digital art media.

Anna is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator and has been awarded with the Cyprus National Award for Illustration. She is also a part time lecturer in the Department of Arts at the European University Cyprus and teaches Film Theory at the Satiriko Drama School in Nicosia. Anna has been working as a video artist, art director and director for various theatre plays, performances and dance shows, in Cyprus and in Europe. She is the co-writer of the awarded film “Pause” (Cyprus, Greece, 2017). She directed her first short film entitled “Drained” (Cyprus, USA, 2020) which will be released in 2021 and explores issues of femininity, abandonment and revenge through a contemporary re-tell of the myth of Clytemnestra.

Anna has presented her artwork —both in solo and group exhibitions— in galleries, venues and festivals in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Netherlands, Austria and Mexico. She works in collective art projects and collaborates with artists of different practices and disciplines. Her artistic research focuses on the subject matter of reality and its detachment by exploring conceptual frameworks of text and image, within an examination of performance, digital media and placement in space.

Director Statement

“I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions… Art is an adventure in an unknown world, which can only be explored by those who are willing to take risks.” (Mark Rothko)

Sealed Faithful Hall — a poem turned to an experimental film— refers to a series of videos that have been recorded in different locations, through a period of years, either as part of art projects —but were never used— or as a record of situations, feelings and moments in time, in order to be used for future art projects. This archival material, became the motivation of a video art, made during the pandemic of 2020, when movement was restricted and confinement was imposed; therefore no video was able to be recorded.

Drawing inspiration from the rectangular forms of expressionist painter Mark Rothko, a juxtaposition of moving images and sounds was created, an illusion of situations, where real spaces are transformed into imaginary ones.

The film was one of the 50 short films selected for the “50 Shorts VS Covid-19” project of the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports.

Sealed Faithful Halls
An unused wing of the hospital was sealed off,
covered with a waterproof coat and plaster.
A passage leading to a specimen, erased.
An account beyond doubt.
A copy of an alter ego that doesn’t exist anymore.
I lived and died a firm loyalist, a devoted worker.
Through urban dreams and failures,
I created a portrait of observed facts;
a space for public gatherings and entertainment.
No more…
I bit my head off and fed it to the dogs.
Truth implies steadiness, sincerity, and reliability…
Goodnight Rothko.

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