SOH29
the Epic
A SYNDICAAT PRODUCTION, Written and Directed by SOH Alex Vermeulen, Music by David Shea, Costumes by Rien Bekkers

Three years in the making the Epic is a multi-pronged media project whose participants include a troupe of talented young Balinese dancers aged 6 to 10, senoir Balinese dance master Ida Bagus Oka Wirjana, and the award winning composer David Shea and costume maker Rien Bekkers. The concept, direc- tion and execution belongs to multi media artist/filmmaker Alex Vermeulen.

PHOTO
Gallery

Cast
Janus – Gede Yudi Saputra
Cefo Abadan – Dio Lesmana
Kondamnita Sanculpeca – Emi Yunika
Patro – Odon Prayoga
Diabloso Plori – Galang Purnama
Marko Bonsanca – Ade Suarjaya
Potenca Trompi – Agus Suardana
Laborista Respondea – Jeni Ariani
Pala Justa Despellio – Rani Windari
Gangsters: Desta Sarmadi, Gede Asta Deva, Vania Weda Cita

The Epic
Webbooks
IJsbrand van Veelen, Amsterdam, August 2018

Being human

 

Is it a surprise that there are many similarities between the age-old Hindu epos Ramayana and Othello, Shakespeare’s 17th century tragedy? It shouldn’t be. Both tales are about love, deceit, sacrifice, distrust, innocence, jealousy and egoism. Both are about all those characteristics that make humans human; traits that exist since the beginning of mankind and that will last until the end of time. The fact that Ramayana and Othello were conceived in different periods and in different cultures in the East and the West underlines the universality of their themes: their similar stories and intrigues clearly speak to people all over the planet.
Both stories spoke to artist Alex Vermeulen. A humanist globetrotter in the true sense of the word, Alex Vermeulen is always open to investigate similarities and differences between cultures in order to understand what it means to be human.

 

Alex is at ease in the concrete jungle of New York, the culmination of capitalist culture, as well as in the vast and mysterious nature of Asia. Therefore, it made complete sense to me when he announced to be working on The Epic, inspired by Othello and the Ramayana, the two epic stories from Great Britain and India.

 

The Epic, brimming with Alex Vermeulen’s love for science, history, myths and design, can be regarded as a gesamtkunstwerk that aims to connect humans all over the globe by showing what it means to be human. Ingeniously playing with dimensions and time, this retro-futuristic or futuristic-retro work tells us that we are much more than just the organisms that are alive here and now: we consist of everything that once was and we carry the future already inside of us.

 

In that respect, The Epic is a work for all of us.
A work for you and for me.

Bruce Carpenter, Bali, July 2018

From the beginning of his artistic career, Dutch multi-media artist SOH Alex Vermeulen has always been preoccupied by a need to project his creative abilities in unorthodox ways. To do so he began to employ still emerging cutting edge technologies that are now an undeniable part of our digital world during their infancy. Today his digital expertise, combined with an innate other world aesthetic and drive for perfection, has transformed him into a latter-day wizard.

 

The Epic marks a culmination of a series of ‘imaginary’ films that Vermeulen already began directing in the 1980s. While highly cinema-graphic and accompanied by all the characteristics and paraphernalia of blockbusters – magnificent costumes, his sculptures as props, grand settings, noble and evil characters, actors, drama, music, books and photos – they belong to an alternative filmography. The title and the storyline explore
not only the connections between the Ramayana Epic and Shakespeare’s Othello but also Carl Gustav Jung’s concept of archetypes, elemental categories and iconography that unite all peoples.

 

Like all films, the Epic is a collaborative effort between many creative personalities over a long period of time. It stands as a shining example of a mature artist at the peak of his creative abilities.

Rudy Fuchs,
 Amsterdam, January 1996

The past, present and future swirl together not only in the Epic but also in our daily lives as discussed in this text from Rudi Fuchs written about Alex Vermeulen’s film stories 22 years ago in Vermeulen’s film book ‘Fuga Futuri’:

 

In fragments the photographs reconstruct a story that wasn’t there before; or rather,
a story that wasn’t there yet.
In the photographs, fragments of reality have become space for complex backgrounds, foreign objects, artificial constructions but sharply formulated ones which thereby become more real and thus more mysterious than they otherwise (in a vacuous, more abstract setting) would be.
But seeing that the collages, and for that matter the story too, have no specific direction – they sooner make up an organism of interlocking remnants – everything can be read backwards as well.

 

In this reverse reading, which is just as enlightening as the first, the alienating backgrounds and foreign objects turn the realistic fragments into artificial fragments which very deceptively resemble reality.
Between the fragments there remains an ambiguous space.
This space is the imagination; and that is how the whimsical tales of Alex Vermeulen arise…

EXPO
Ubud