Miraculous Trajectories is based on Cheng Ran’s nine-hour epic film In Course of the Miraculous, which was conceived during his residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 2013 and subsequently completed and exhibited in 2015. Featuring footage from this earlier work as well as newly shot and edited material, the dialogue-free, seventy-minute Miraculous Trajectories is presented with an original soundtrack composed and performed live by electronic musician Shao Yanpeng.
Miraculous Trajectories is inspired by the story of three real-life disappearances: English mountain climber George Mallory disappeared in 1924 while climbing Mount Everest; Dutch conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader was last seen in 1975 while attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a small sailboat; and the Lu Rong Yu, Chinese fishing boat no. 2682, returned with only a third of the crew alive after several months at sea, while the others perished in suspected foul play. Cheng conveys these mysteries in visually striking scenes that evoke both the historical and the mythic—weaving reality, fiction, and imagination into depictions of exploration, creation, and loss.
Alongside footage filmed on location in the East China Sea, Tibet, Switzerland, and Amsterdam, and re-enactments shot on an indoor set, the film features storyboards, animation, subtitles, excerpts of dialogue, manuscripts, annotations, and material traces from the production.
The live performance pairs Cheng’s dreamlike visuals with Shao’s rhythmic, intensely atmospheric soundscapes to form an ultra-sensory expedition, inviting the audience to explore and be led astray by sound, image, and pure enigma.