The First Dance 2012

In The First Dance, boyhood fantasies of becoming a kung-fu warrior bleed into adulthood and manifest in the restaging of a scene from the Ang Lee directed film, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Locating this in the domestic reality of the artist’s south London flat, a dressing gown and his wedding shirwani become imagined substitutes for kung-fu robes.

Hetain and his wife, Eva, are respectively British and Spanish-French. The piece parallels the displaced nature of the Indian wedding attire onto both of their bodies, with the displaced cultural connotations attached to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The kung-fu choreography, learnt solely from imitating the DVD footage, embeds this fantasy into the very real memory of Hetain’s limbs.

For Hetain, kung-fu becomes metaphor for hard work and struggle, which he considers his true family heritage. This metaphor is used to animate the ornate wedding avatar, which in his family, often becomes the symbol of success and reward for this hard work.

This convergence of real life and fantasy is mediated by the lens, juxtaposing domestic imagery with the cinematic. However unlike Hetain’s earlier video work, here he is no longer the sole protagonist. Now, we see his wife within the frame of his previous self-portraiture. Recently married, Hetain is interested in the implications of framing her within his own identity questions.

The First Dance, 2012 (stills video stills)
Single channel, high definition, projected
7 min 57 sec