Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere, Part IV

Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere, Part IV

e-flux

Clip from Helene Kazan, Frame of Accountability: In Her View, 2022.

January 19, 2022
Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere, Part IV
The Persistence of Resistance in the Actualization of Memories From the Past
January 19–February 1, 2022
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Join us on e-flux Video & Film for The Persistence of Resistance in the Actualization of Memories From the Past, the fourth group screening of the online film program Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere, curated by Irmgard Emmelhainz.

In a Benjaminian manner, the films in this section awaken images of the past with redemptive potential in the present. Redemption translates to the possibility of resistance. These are the images that will not go away, that persist and insist on haunting the present.

With films by Fouad Elkoury, Helene Kazan, Wael Noureddine, Urok Shirhan, Akram Zaatari, streaming January 19–February 1, 2022 on e-flux Video & Film. Watch them here.

We’re also very pleased to share that the program’s two accompanying discussions will take place on Wednesday, Febuary 2 and Tuesday, Febrauary 15 at 1pm EST, titled respectively Contested Representations: Making Images from Elsewhere with Irmgard Emmelhainz and guest participants Olivier HadouchiKhaled Saghieh, and Stefan Tarnowski; and Here and Elsewhere: Horizons of Resistance from Palestine with Irmgard Emmelhainz and guest participants Khadijeh Habashneh and Oraib Toukan. Watch the livestream on e-flux.com/live.

IV. The Persistence of Resistance in the Actualization of Memories From the Past
Streaming January 19–February 1, 2022

Urok Shirhan, Watani Al Akbar (My Greater Homeland), 2015, 11 minutes
This work is a ventriloquist intervention on the 1960 operetta Al Watan Al Akbar (The Greater Homeland), composed by Mohammad Abdel Wahab and sung by leading Arab singers of the time. It is considered the anthem of Pan-Arabism as advocated by Gamal Abdel Nasser, then president of Egypt, who is said to have commissioned the production. In this video, the artist replaces the voices of the operetta’s protagonists with her own. Through this gesture of activation, she asks to what extent we may regard past political movements—particularly those we deem to have “failed”—without nostalgia’s anesthetizing and depoliticizing effects. The task is neither to undermine nor glorify history, but rather to activate and “liberate” certain narratives, activities, images, and ideals from the chokehold of the petrified past. 

Wael Noureddine, A Film Far Beyond a God, 2008, 39 minutes 
Mecca was already a major pilgrim destination before the birth of Islam, when 360 statues, representing various idols, were gathered in the sanctuary of the Kaaba. The most important one was Hubal, one of the main pre-Islamic gods. A Film Far Beyond a God traces the origins of the conflicts that continue to afflict us today. It draws up three main motifs: angst, travel, and the desert. With this experimental documentary, Wael Noureddine films a knowingly hidden past in order to help us decipher the present.

Fouad Elkoury, Atlantis, 2012, 13 minutes
Atlantis is a series of photographs shown in chronological order, depicting Yasser Arafat’s escape from Beirut (August 30–September 1, 1982). Atlantis was the name of the ship sent by the late Greek Prime Minister Papandreou to carry Arafat to Athens.

Akram Zaatari, This Day, 2003, 86 minutes
Shot in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, this essay uses transportation, video, and photography to examine images circulating in a historically charged, and presently war-torn and divided, Middle East. From images of camels in the desert to images of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the video looks at states of mind in relation to actual geographies. The video pays tribute to an unformatted and open-ended documentary approach, and examines modes of access to information such as travel, television, and the internet, while carefully displaying the resulting iconography.

Helene Kazan, Frame of Accountability: In Her View, 2022, 15 minutes
Tracing the effects of a burgeoning technology of capitalism and conflict and its intersection with a modern history of Lebanon and Syria, archival evidence discovered at the Arab Image Foundation in Lebanon reveals the sexual exploitation of a woman by occupying Australian soldiers fighting for the Allied forces. Engaging feminist and decolonial methods, the film moves through the archival evidence to sense, trace, and position her encounter as a form of poetic testimony. This episode of Kazan’s project Frame of Accountability points to a lack of legal accountability for violence perpetrated at the scale of the body and the domestic during armed conflict.

Discussions
Livestream on e-flux.com/live

Wednesday, February 2, 1pm EST
Contested Representations: Making Images from Elsewhere
Irmgard Emmelhainz, Olivier Hadouchi, Khaled Saghieh, Stefan Tarnowski

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. How to give form to the experience of loss when it has resulted in the loss and distortion of form itself (Yassin al-Hajj Saleh)? What is an image of resistance? But also: How to go beyond the colonial, Orientalist image of “the Arab” and the many faces it has taken over the years? When personal memories are unreliable, a struggle for meaning and collective memory has been necessary to counter imperial constructions of the “terrorist enemy” and the “victim of human rights violations.” The role of the moving image in remembrance and against imperial visual culture and State-directed memorialization calls for decolonization in the field of vision toward political agency.

Tuesday, February 15, 1pm EST
Here and Elsewhere: Horizons of Resistance from Palestine 
Irmgard Emmelhainz, Khadijeh Habashneh, Oraib Toukan

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@e-flux.com.

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