The ten video channels that comprise Hayati Mokhtar’s 'Falim House: Observations' seem suspended between the silence and stasis of the still image, and a series of ever-so-slight stirs and shifts that suggest to the viewer that these tableaus are, in fact, animated. One witnesses, in the far distance beyond a deserted vestibule, the movement of a human silhouette; little happens on the lawn outside a partially open window, except when a small herd of farm animals dart by; the sound of a whistling voice is heard echoing through the empty hallways of a derelict structure. These forlorn fragments document the interior and surroundings of the titular mansion, located in Ipoh.
Falim House was built by Foo Nyit Tse, one of the wealthiest tin tycoons in Malaya in the early twentieth century. Today, it lies in a state of suggestive ruin, the Foo family having left most of their belongings behind, including furniture, antiques and personal letters. The artist remarks: “Imagine these sequences as photographs that teeter on the cusp of becoming the moving image; stills that, at certain points, suddenly flow into a depiction of a whole series of events: small actions that, seen collectively, build up into a narrative – a film, even, of sorts.”