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fly (Jessica Woodworth x Tsar B, 2023)

NotesPart of Special Issue1: 25X250

In fly, Belgian director Jessica Woodworth turns freestyle skiing on a dry slope into a mystical figuration and an open-ended gesture. Inspired by the soaring strings of Tsar B (also a Belgian artist)’s score, she films a few young people, on the cusp of teenhood, as they gear up to take off. But before they don their gear, we get to see their faces: their portraits fixed in close-ups, while the corners of the frame keep swaying, ever so gently. A slight tremble of the camera is enough to transfix the steadiness of everyday life, the routines one builds up for oneself. As humans, we’re continuously training to become who we already are, hoping to one day rise above our old selves, to fly over the past and be at peace with it.

As the youngsters on screen ascend and descend in their sports practice, the metaphorical value of that very same flight makes way to the tactile musical crescendo. High notes, angelic voices, percussions are now the material of dreams, and if we close our eyes, we soar too. While Tsar B’s score unscrews the hyphen of electro-pop in the two distinct parts of her piece, Woodworth slides right in between, fashioning fly in slow-motion. This way, the seconds before take-off can last longer, and so can the music.