In this collection of works that address politics, social movements and personal histories, the image—photographs, symbols, archival materials, propaganda videos—is deconstructed and examined to understand its limits, controlling influences and symbolic power. When representations of reality can be used to liberate, but also reproduce violence, control the body and foreclose the making of meaning, what artistic interventions are necessary, how do we confront the image?
Each of these works offer formal propositions for what a reflexive documentary image can be. A video essay about its own making, belit sag’s Ayhan and Me examines notions of artistic production, censorship, and control through her relationship as an artist with photographs of Ayhan Çarkın, a Turkish paramilitary policeman accused of extra judicial killings. An “incomplete and imperfect portrait of reflections from Standing Rock,” Sky Hopinka’s Dislocation Blues acknowledges the limits of representation and looking back as a way to approximate history and collectivity. In Maryam Tafakory’s I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin, videos of Islamic clergymen instructing women on how to control their desire are confronted with fragments from feminist Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad’s poem Sin. A damning performance video that calls out the symbols and ideologies that blind the public, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s Behemoth: Or the Game of God follows a preacher dragging a coffin through the streets claiming that their god is within it. Korakrit Arunanondchai’s With History in a Room Filled With People With Funny Names 4 is a cosmic interplay of the personal and political. In associative, essayistic form, it addresses death and attempts to make sense of the universe of what shapes existence today: drones, spirits, animals, news media, political activism and a sea of data. Kevin Jerome Everson’s The Citizens uses the archival image to examine the construction of the Black public figure through fragments of Muhammad Ali, Althea Gibson and Fidel Castro.
• Ayhan and Me (belit sag, 2016, 15 min, Netherlands/Turkey)
• Dislocation Blues (Sky Hopinka, 2017, 17 min, US)
• I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin (Maryam Tafakory, 2018, 9 min, UK/Iran)
• Behemoth: Or the Game of God (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2015, 12 min, Lesotho/Germany)
• With History in a Room Filled With People With Funny Names 4 (Korakrit Arunanondchai, 2018, 24 min, US/Thailand)
• The Citizens, Kevin Jerome Everson, 2009, 6 min, US)
TRT: 83 min
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