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The Ruby is a catalyst for creativity and a home for making art at Duke.
Date & Time
August 20, 2018September 20, 2018
Drop in during building open hours. Ruby Hours
The Murthy Agora (Studio 129) at the Rubenstein Arts Center
2020 Campus Dr
Durham, NC 27708 United States

Hijacked is a moving image work concerning airplane space. The video features a defunct airplane in an airplane graveyard, actors in a soundstage, and a noise music soundtrack that evokes the soundscape inside an airplane. Prior to its Durham premiere, it has had two International premieres, first at the BFI London Film Festival and subsequently, in a gallery context, at Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai.

Hijacked, Kaul’s new film, … is a one-of-its-kind experiment by the filmmaker. “For starters, I am using human actors,” says Kaul, … whose previous movies have featured animals, birds and insects.

“Before this project, I was preoccupied with the stuff we never look at in films, like backdrops, animals and objects—everything but the human actors. This one is the opposite since I have human actors, but no backdrops. The establishing shots that appear from time to time, hint that the space is an airplane, but it is the audience who must do the work of imagining the backdrop,” says Kaul, who shuttles between Mumbai and Durham, where she teaches art and filmmaking at Duke University.

Her 14-minute short, which includes scenes of a decommissioned plane taken inside an aircraft boneyard on the border of North and South Carolina, has a deliberate ghostly feel. And, the overriding blackness on screen is a far cry from the traditional in-flight experience.

But, the layered meanings of her narrative justify this indistinct drama. “For this project, I was interested in thinking about airplane spaces and about what it means to travel. Post 9/11, we have a whole new way of thinking about travel, especially for people who come from different backgrounds, and are now pigeon-holed under a new race that has emerged called ‘brown’. In the abstract spaces of airplane travel and transit for this group, it would seem ‘tourist’ and ‘terrorist’ are uncomfortable subjectivities that are offered in equal measure. I was initially attracted by the alliteration, and use it as a kind of joke in the film,” says the filmmaker.

(From “Filmmaker Shambhavi Kaul’s New Art And Film Project Takes Us Into The Abstract Travel Space,” by Jane Borges)

About the Artist

Shambhavi Kaul has exhibited her work worldwide at such venues as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, The New York Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Edinburgh International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, and Experimenta Bangalore. Her work was featured in the 10th Shanghai Biennale, and she has presented two solo shows at Jhaveri Contemporary in Mumbai. She was born in Jodhpur India, and lives in the United States, where she is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Filmmaking in the Art, Art History & Visual Studies department at Duke University.

Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai.

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