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By David Finkelstein | January 10, 2002

Park calls her video an “image-based video-poem” and that is exactly what it is. Like a poem, “Hope” explores a series of related feelings by creating a series of images: birds and planes in flight, smoke emerging from a rooftop, kids in strollers and on skateboards, people’s hands in motion as they walk, and parents touching their children. The final images are of a little boy’s hand which flies up like a bird as he runs, and of an antenna on a roof, as if poised for flight. The melancholy, yearningly spare rock music of The Dirty Three creates a poignant mood for this study of flight as a release and a transcendence.

Park has an extraordinary musical sense of editing and the images follow the structure of the music quite closely, completely changing tone on the song’s bridge. This is both a strength and a weakness; the song is quite beautiful but also a bit wandery and long-winded. Both the song and the video could benefit from a bit of trimming; cutting out everything inessential. Park’s technique of isolating and highlighting movement-images culled from ordinary life is powerful and poetic. By blowing up images and occasionally playing them backwards, she makes them leap out at the viewer in a fresh way. However, the sketchy, out of focus camerawork and the general crudeness of her digital effects do not particularly add to the work’s expressiveness.

Despite some shortcomings, “Hope” is an evocative visual poem in which quotidian sights are elevated into expressive visual metaphors.

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