October 31, 2020 - Artist Cinemas - Here is where we are: Week #2
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October 31, 2020

Artist Cinemas

Nashashibi/Skaer, Lamb (clip), 2015.

Here is where we are: Week #2
Nashashibi/Skaer, Lamb

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Join us on e-flux Video & Film for the online screening of Nashashibi/Skaer’s Lamb (2015), the second installment of Here is where we are, on view from Saturday, October 31 through Friday, November 6, 2020 and featuring an excerpt from Ursula K. Le Guin's short story “The Silence of the Asonu” (1998).

Here is where we are is a six-part program of films, video works, interviews, and texts put together by Laure Prouvost. It is the fourth program in Artist Cinemas, a long-term, online series of film programs curated by artists for e-flux Video & Film

Artist Cinemas presents Here is where we are
Week #2: Saturday, October 31–Friday, November 6, 2020
Nashashibi/Skaer, Lamb, 2015
6:19 minutes

The film was shot over a course of mornings in a farmer’s lambing shed near Lucy Skaer’s house on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Ewes are in labor, giving birth or tending to their lambs. The soundtrack is a musical composition by composer Will Carslake and singer Olivia Ray in collaboration with Rosalind Nashashibi, using trumpet, breath, voice, and piano.

Excerpt from Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Silence of the Asonu,” 1998:

"The silence of the Asonu is proverbial. The first visitors believed that these gracious, gracile people were mute, lacking any language other than that of gesture, expression, and gaze. Later, hearing Asonu children chatter, the visitors suspected that among themselves the adults spoke, keeping silence only with strangers. We know now that the Asonu are not dumb, but that once past early childhood they speak only very rarely, to anyone, under any circumstances. They do not write; and unlike mutes, or monks under vows of silence, they do not use any signs or other devices in place of speaking.

This nearly absolute abstinence from language makes them fascinating.

People who live with animals value the charm of muteness. It can be a real pleasure to know when the cat walks into the room that he won’t mention any of your shortcomings, or that you can tell your grievances to your dog without his repeating them to the people who caused them.

And those who can talk, but don’t, have the great advantage over the rest of us that they never say anything stupid. This may be why we are convinced that if they spoke they would have something wise to say.

Thus there has come to be considerable tourist traffic to the Asonu. Having a strong tradition of hospitality, the Asonu entertain their visitors courteously, though without modifying their own customs. Some people go there simply in order to join the natives in their silence, grateful to spend a few weeks where they do not have to festoon and obscure every human meeting with verbiage. Many such visitors, having been accepted into a household as a paying guest, return year after year, forming bonds of unspoken affection with their quiet hosts.

Others follow their Asonu guides or hosts about, talking to them continually, confiding their whole life stories to them, in rapture at having at last found a listener who won’t interrupt or comment or mention that his cousin had an even larger tumor than that. As such people usually know little Asonu and speak mostly or entirely in their own language, they evidently aren’t worried by the question that vexes some visitors: Since the Asonu don’t talk, do they, in fact, listen?"

Watch the film and read the full execrpt here.

About the program
Here is where we are highlights a variety of ways of representing the real across the realms of the living. How do we—humans. animals, plants—leave a mark? The contributors in this selection move across a spectrum of criticality and lightness, each finding a unique way of expressing their inner drive. We are together in this world and travelling along the road as it curves. We traverse geographic and geological borders as well as a (mountain) range of styles, sensations, and cultures. Hopefully you are here where we are!

Here is where we are is a program convened by Laure Prouvost as part of the series Artist Cinemas. It will run for six weeks from October 24 through December 5, 2020, screening a new film each week accompanied by a text or interview with the filmmaker(s) by Prouvost and invited guests.

About Artist Cinemas
Artist Cinemas is a new e-flux platform focusing on exploring the moving image as understood by people who make film. It is informed by the vulnerability and enchantment of the artistic process—producing non-linear forms of knowledge and expertise that exist outside of academic or institutional frameworks. It will also acknowledge the circles of friendship and mutual inspiration that bind the artistic community. Over time this platform will trace new contours and produce different understandings of the moving image.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

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