A video poem made for 3.11: What is to be remembered?, a video art project by Spread Video Art 2 in Japan. All the video pieces were 3min 11sec long, in response to the 11 March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Zedeck Siew wrote the words:
“The town that I live in is by the seaside. It’s a holiday town.
Every weekend, families visit the beach to picnic, build sandcastles and scrawl messages that get washed away at the next high tide.
The town I live in is also an industrial town. There are two petroleum refineries here. The refineries get bigger every year.
Behind the trees in our garden, I can see a big gas flare, and hear its dull roar. It burns chemical fire up into the sky, day and night. Some days, the flare is small. Other days, it’s so large that it lights up the whole sky and a smell like burning rubber fills the air.
I’ve tried to map the pattern of the flare: when is it larger? When is it smaller? There should be a pattern. Surely the refinery keeps a schedule. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. The flare is random. It has a will of its own. Bright or dim, it burns on its own whim, indifferent to the people on the ground, far below.
A few months ago, they installed another gas flare. They brought it here in parts, on huge trailers with dozens of wheels. They came at night, closing the roads, crawling by. Huge cylindrical behemoths that, once in motion, cannot be stopped.
The house I live in has a large garden. It surrounds the house, and has fruit trees planted by four different owners and their families.
Out of all the trees in our garden, the jackfruit is the most productive.The flesh of a ripe jackfruit is sweet, but to get to it you have to chop through layers and layers of tough, sappy skin. It takes about an hour. You have to coat your knife with oil, and cover your floor with paper. If you don’t, the sap will stain everything, and you won’t be able to get it off.
Our tree bears more fruit than we can deal with. We don’t water or fertilize it, and we trim it mercilessly. Yet, every few weeks, I see a new cluster of young jackfruits growing on a branch.
I look my tree and say: “Please stop. Take a rest!” I’ve been wondering if the jackfruit has a fruiting season. Surely it does. Surely it gets tired of producing so much fruit!
I’ve been watching it, trying to determine its pattern, to find out its time of rest.But maybe it doesn’t have a season, after all, and does what it wants.”