Frank and the Upside-down Man is an experimental film screened at Yellow Lane on 28 August 2022 as one of the Open Stage projects. It featured improvisational movement by Kiera Sanderson, filmed by Madeleine Stuart-Smith on location at Maenporth beach in Falmouth, England. As an exploration of the uncanny and surrealism, the film showed two masked characters interacting and creating a silent dialogue between them. It was screened on loop in the upstairs lounge of Yellow Lane, with a large piece of paper set up for the audience to write down their thoughts and ideas. After the performance, a Q&A session was conducted with Kiera joining through a video call from the UK. PoA Open Stage is a creative platform for artists to explore ideas, experiment, and share their work with the community. If you have a project you would like to share through the Open Stage platform, sign up here. ABOUT THE ARTIST Kiera Sanderson is a dancer/choreographer with a first class honours degree in Dance and Choreography from Falmouth University. Since graduating, she has been actively involved in different projects in the UK and Bangkok, where she is currently based.
In the UK, Kiera worked as a performer and choreographer under Neon Dance, Yskynna Dance Company, and Blue Freckle Company. In Bangkok, she performed at Mango Art Festival 2022 and co-founded Open Movement and Advanced Floorwork classes with Anand Wongpaisan. In July 2022, she also worked collaboratively with a team of artists and shared a performance that combined art forms such as dance, photography, and live painting at Yellow Lane. ARTIST INTERVIEW “Outside of reality, two beings meet for the first time. In a place where time and sense are forgotten and the uncanny looms, they find themselves stuck in a continuous nightmarish loop of which they must endure,” Kiera said.
The idea came to her during the first lockdown when she watched the film Rabbits by director David Lynch. It features anthropomorphic rabbits having disoriented dialogues in an absurd, uncomfortable setting. The sense of uncanniness and surrealism present in this film had inspired Kiera to explore similar psychological territories with physical movements.
“Psychology plays a big part in my dance practice. It’s always been a tossup between psychology or dance. This is kind of my response to a combination of both,” she said. “I think my goal is to test out some theories of what other people have used to make me feel this way, and have my own response to this feeling of not knowing what this world is.”
In terms of creative process, this film was made quite spontaneously. Kiera simply asked her photographer friend to bring a camera one afternoon and help document the research project with only a few elements planned out beforehand. “I had a sketch of what this particular character would move like, how would they respond, and I had the location in mind which is one the beaches in Falmouth. So, all I knew is that I was gonna go and embody this character, movement-wise, in this specific location,” she said. “The whole thing is improvised, it’s these two characters feeding off of each other, and figuring out the vibe of what the other person is giving. It’s very organic and natural”
Frank and the Upside-down Man had only been shown to a select group of people in the UK. The film made its first mass audience debut at the Open Stage showcase, with an interactive element where the audience wrote thoughts and ideas that came up while watching the film. “I was interested to see what their physical reactions were to this, and hear some things that they were thinking,” said the movement artist. “I hope that people are inspired to look inwards and face the unknown.”