Cloud of the Unknown (2019) is Gao Yuan’s most recent animation effort. The animated film functions not only as its own independent, stand-alone project, but also as a preview of her feature-length film in the making.
Comprised of individual paintings, Cloud of the Unknown glows in a hazy twilight as it follows the narrative of the main character through peculiar experiences lingering between dream and reality. Closely collaborating with her partner, Anita Pan – composer, sound technician, and now actor in Cloud of the Unknown – Gao Yuan creates fictitious stories mirroring specific time periods of her life as if like a time capsule containing the intense labor to produce each animation intertwined with the internal, lived life. Through Gao Yuan’s command of narrative, color, and the surreal, she is able to create a personal yet intricately nuanced understanding of one’s relationship to dreamscapes amidst the constant flux in questioning one’s idea of reality.