Here, in her most recent film, abduct, Cha thrusts viewers into a laboratory where post-apocalyptic humans, presumably estranged from their feelings, are made to experience a range of emotions. In a shiny white room devoid of furniture or other distractions, seven actors appear, one by one, dressed in white futuristic-looking underwear. They appear to struggle as their faces express a variety of sensations—rage, delight, grief, mania, disgust, surprise, and shock. Viewers never see the characters’ examiners, although occasionally the on-set film crew creeps into view. The subjects perform as the epitome of self-consciousness, acutely ashamed of being watched as they try to maintain serenity in the face of insanity.
This film, a joint project between Frieze Films and the museum, is a positive step forward for an artist who has made full use of the production quality afforded by this commission. There is a chilling beauty at play here with a soft white spotlight drenching the physically fit actors in a glossy haze. This aesthetic makes the film, which is often disturbing and confusing, all the more seductive. It pushes and pulls the audience in various directions, instilling a certain discomfort that perfectly suits the emotional instability depicted on the screen. The actors in abduct are hostages to their feelings, but viewers have been taken hostage by Cha’s masterful direction.