Howie Shia

1999, 30:00 minutes, colour, English w French


In both academia and the arts, Antonin Artaud represents the beginning of a time where human identity can be exploded into “ten thousand/notorious aspects.” But while his influence is widespread, there are very few attempts to examine this seminal French poet/playwright/philosopher with the same multiplicity of form and content that he often embodied.

Using Artaud’s unproduced screenplay Eighteen Seconds as an underlying and recurring theme, 18 Fragments: Selected Writings By and About Antonin Artaud, is a video documentary that explores Artaud’s multifaceted identity through a series of eighteen short experimental segments. These fragments from many of Artaud’s public and personal writings as well as some of the critical and artistic texts that he has inspired.

18 Fragments presents Artaud as a “procession of images, an enormous number of contradictory images without very much connection from one to the next.” Numerous aspects of his identity are offered forth but the final impression is ephemerala paradoxical portrait of a man “incapable of reaching his thoughts.”

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