Landscape, We

Sunday, April 21 at 8 PM

Doors 7:30 PM; $5 admission     

Co-organized by curator Suzy Halajian and artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Landscape, We, presents three films that consider different contexts and stories, in order to point to the violence, power struggles, and colonial narratives that surface through considerations of the landscape, both material and imagined. In varying ways, the works unearth buried sites and histories, and challenge notions of property through a post-human lens. This program was screened at Disjecta in Portland on April 7, as part of the artists’ solo exhibition, We know what it is for, we who have used it. For more info:

Shadi Habib Allah’s non-linear film, 30KG Shine (2017, 20 min., Arabic with English subtitles), reflects on a 1930s myth about a ghost that haunted the Old City of Jerusalem, by recording how an elderly woman secures her home and family heritage by leading a confined life. It also features footage of a tunnel cemetery being constructed by workers to house displaced corpses; these bodies claim ownership of the place where they will lie. Many of the Palestinian workers who dig these graves enter Jerusalem without proper permitting, their illegal movement enabled by the dead’s historical presence. By interweaving three views to create a haunting portrait of the holy city, the film comments on Palestine and the Israeli State (and the state of Israel), on a territory where politics is linked with terror, and where the burial of the dead is made an argument for an eternal claim to the land.

Maha Maamoun’s film, Dear Animal (2016, 25 min. 30 sec.), Arabic with English subtitles), interweaves two stories. Shot between Cairo and different locations in India, the work brings together the short story by Haytham El-Wardany about a drug dealer who turns into a strange animal by writer; and a selection of letters written by Azza Shaaban, a director-producer involved with the Egyptian revolution and now living in India, from where she regularly posts notes to her Facebook friends relating stories of travel and healing. Her letters narrate the world she is trying to leave behind after the revolution, and the new one she is attempting to inhabit. An animal, real or imaginary, brings both stories together.

Arjuna Neuman and Denise Ferreira da Silva’s collaborative film Serpent Rain (2016, 30 min.) is as much an experiment in working together as it is a film about the future. The collaboration began with the discovery of a sunken slave ship, and an artist asking a philosopher – how do we get to the post-human without technology? And the philosopher replying – maybe we can make a film without time. The result is a video that speaks from inside the cut between slavery and resource extraction, between black lives matter and the matter of life, between the state changes of elements, timelessness and tarot.

About the Artists:

Shadi Habib Allah was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, and now lives and works in New York. His work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); SculptureCenter, Long Island City, New York (2018); (LACE) Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2017); Beursschouwburg, Brussels (2017); Portikus, Frankfurt (2016); National Gallery of Arts, Tirana, Albania (2014); Artists Space, New York (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); and Tate Modern, London (2007). Allah has been a featured participant at the Palestine c/o Venice at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); Art Statements at Art Basel 43 (2012); and the New Museum Triennial, New York (2015). His films have been screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam; Courtisane Festival Belgium, Gent; and the 40th Norwegian Film Festival, Haugesund. He was twice awarded Second Prize for the Young Artist Award from the A.M. Qattan Foundation, and was the 2012 recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. Allah received a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, and an MFA from Columbia University, New York.

Maha Maamoun was born in Cairo and lives and works in Cairo. Her artwork has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Sursock Museum, Beirut (2017); Sharjah Art Foundation (2016); SALT, Istanbul (2015); Rosa Santos Gallery, Valencia (2015); and the Fridericianum, Kassel (2014). Maamoun has participated in group exhibitions and biennials such as Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York (2014); Forum Expanded, 64th Berlinale (2014); Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear, Tate Modern, London (2012-13); 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012); Momentarily Learning from Mega Events, Makan, Amman (2011-12); Second World: Where is Progress Progressing, Steirischer Herbst, Graz (2011); and The End of Money, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011). She also works collaboratively on independent publishing and curatorial projects, and co-founded the independent publishing platform Kayfa-ta in 2013. She is a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), an independent non-profit space for art and culture founded in Cairo in 2004.

Arjuna Neuman was born on an airplane, that’s why he has two passports. He is an artist, filmmaker, and writer. With recent presentations at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul; Sharjah Biennial, UAE; Bergen Assembly, Norway; at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the 56th Venice Biennale and SuperCommunity; the Haus Der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; at KEM, Warsaw; at Ashkal Alwan and the Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon; Le Gaite Lyric, Paris; the Canadian Centre for Architecture; and the Rat School of Art, Seoul amongst others. As a writer he has published essays in Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, VIA Magazine, Concord, Art Voices, Hearings Journal, and e-flux.

Denise Ferreira da Silva is an Associate Professor and Director of The Social Justice Institute (GRSJ) at the University of British Columbia. She is he author of Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). Her recent academic publications include the edited volume Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime (with Paula Chakravartty, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and the articles “Toward a Black Feminist Poethics: The Quest(ion) of Blackness Towards the End of the World” (The Black Scholar, 2014), “The Racial Limits of Social Justice: The Ruse of Equality of Opportunity and the Global Affirmative Action Mandate” (Critical Ethnic Studies, 2016). Her art-related work include texts for publications linked to the 2016 Liverpool and Sao Paulo Biennales, advising Natasha Ginwala, the curator for the Contour 8 Biennale (Mechelen, 2017), the play Return of the Vanished Peasant (in collaboration with Rosalind Martin, commissioned by “What’s Up Doc?,” a program of the Menagerie Theatre Company), and texts that are part of her own practice, Poethical Readings (in collaboration with Valentina Desideri).

Image: Shadi Habib Allah, 30KG Shine, 2017, Color, HD video, 20 min. Courtesy of the artist.

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