Images of Resistance from Elsewhere

Images of Resistance from Elsewhere

e-flux

Clip from Jocelyne Saab, One Dollar a Day, 2016. Courtesy of Jocelyne Saab’s Friends Association.

January 5, 2022
Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere III: Images of Resistance from Elsewhere
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January 5–18, 2022
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e-flux Video & Film is very pleased to present Images of Resistance from Elsewhere, the third group screening of the online film program Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere, curated by Irmgard Emmelhainz.

The films in this third chapter pose the question of the image of political struggles elsewhere from the point of view of the engaged observer. What are the stakes in the circulation of images of wars elsewhere? What must be considered when the filmmaker travels to the site of conflict to document it? What is an image of solidarity that can break through the hegemony, technocracy, and capitalism that mediate the consumption of images of conflict elsewhere?

With films by  b.h. YaelHarun FarockiThe Otolith GroupJocelyne SaabMohanad Yaqubi, streaming January 5–18, 2022 on e-flux Video & Film.

Watch them here.

Harun Farocki, War at a Distance, 2003, 58 minutes 
In 1991, when images of the Gulf War flooded the international media, it was virtually impossible to distinguish between real pictures and those generated on a computer. This loss of bearings was to change forever our way of deciphering what we see. The image is no longer used only as testimony, but also as an indispensable link in a process of production and destruction. This is the central premise of War at a Distance, which continues the deconstruction of claims to visual objectivity Harun Farocki developed in his earlier work. With the help of archival and original material, Farocki sets out in effect to define the relationship between military strategy and industrial production, and sheds light on how the technology of war finds applications in everyday life (Antje Ehmann)

The Otolith Group, Nervus Rerum, 2009, 32 minutes
The title of this work comes from Cicero’s Latin, meaning “the nerve of things.” Using Jenin refugee camp in the Palestinian Occupied Territories as its visual subject and a rich soundscape of excerpts from the writings of Fernando Pessoa and Jean Genet, Nervus Rerum confronts the difficulties of representation the people within this geographic enclave face. The Jenin camp was established in 1953, in order to provide shelter for Palestinians dispersed and expelled from their homes after the formation of Israel in 1948. The inhabitants of this camp resist resettling in order to keep their dispersed status, as to relinquish it would be to relinquish their claim upon their native home. As a result they have no political representation, rights, or status. In turn, Nervus Rerum disperses the sources it uses to represent these people and this place, exploring representation, transparency through opacity, and the form of the essay film in itself.

Jocelyne Saab, One Dollar a Day, 2016, 6 minutes
Poetry is everywhere, even in the refugee camps where absolute misery reigns. In front of old plastic advertising posters on which are drawn in giant format the big icons of luxury and consumerism that make up their shelters, refugee children stand like kings. Symbols of life at the heart of war, fragility, and death, these children are shown by Jocelyne Saab as precious notes of hope in the heart of a dehumanized world. One Dollar a Day was filmed in the Syrian refugee camps of the Bekaa plain, Lebanon in 2015, with text by Etel Adnan.

b.h. Yael, Even in the Desert, 2006, 33 minutes
Even in the Desert focuses on concrete actions by Palestinians, Israelis, and Internationals working together in the face of and against current agendas to displace Palestinians and to limit their movements. The video travels to various locations and sites of resistance and solidarity in the West Bank:  from Mas’ha to Susya and Jinba, as well as Jerusalem. These sites and the people who live there continue to experience ongoing aggressions all these many years. Even in the Desert is one of three videos in a series titled Palestine Trilogy that presents activists who work together in various groups and projects attempting to address the historic and contemporary repercussions of Israel’s occupation and colonization of land. These are but a few of the many activists who work, and who are seldom represented in mainstream media images of the conflicts in Palestine and Israel.

Mohanad Yaqubi, Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory, 2016, 62 minutes
Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory is a meditation on the Palestinian people's struggle to produce an image and self-representation on their own terms in the 1960s and 1970s, with the establishment of the Palestine Film Unit as part of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). Unearthing films stored in archives across the world after an unprecedented research and access, the film begins with popular representations of modern Palestine and traces the works of militant filmmakers in reclaiming image and narrative through revolutionary and militant cinema. In resurrecting a forgotten memory of struggle, Off Frame reanimates what is within the frame, but also weaves a critical reflection by looking for what is outside it, or what is off-frame.

About the program
This constellation of post-1967 films gathers a cultural memory of ongoing political conflicts rooted in the colonial past of a geographic area misnamed by relatively arbitrary boundary markers: the “Arab world,” “Orient,” or “Middle East.” 

One of the traits of modernity is the experience of conflict elsewhere through visual interfaces. This is the result of the belief in the moral imperative to document, give testimony to, and disseminate images in order to stop atrocities happening far away, all while genocide, dispossession, and mass displacement are justified as collateral damage in the imperial wars seeking to expand neoliberal capitalism. To disentangle the complicated matrix of violence operating in the Middle East, the image has functioned as a pharmakon. Indeed, the birth of photography coincided with the expansion of early European imperialism in the Arab world, and some of the medium’s earliest outputs are Orientalist images taken by Europeans in places like Cairo and Jerusalem. Images have long shaped the external imagination of the region. One of the challenges cultural producers in the area face is to counter the image as an intervention in the field of vision that perpetuates imperial narratives, including that of the myth of journalistic objectivity. 

Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere: Moving Images from the Middle East/Arab World After Empires is an online film program curated by Irmgard Emmelhainz for e-flux Video & Film, taking place from November 24, 2021 through February 16, 2022. The program streams in five thematic group screenings, each two weeks long; and will accompanied by two live discussions (discussion dates and speakers to be announced).

With films by Nora Adwan, Reem Ali, Basma Alsharif, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Selma Baccar, b.h. Yael, Fouad Elkoury, Harun Farocki, Shadi Habib Allah, Khadijeh Habashneh, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Helene Kazan, Hassan Khan, Dalia Al Kury, Wael Noureddine, The Otolith Group, Jocelyne Saab, Urok Shirhan, Mohanad Yaqubi, Akram Zaatari.

Read the full text and watch the films here.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

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