Willing the Possible

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19 October – 02 December 2017

Bostanbaşı Cd 10, Firuzağa Mh.
Istanbul, Turkey 34420


with films by Jumana Manna and Sille StorihleEmma LeachSasha Litvintseva, and Rosalind Nashashibi.

Living with one another can be unhappy, wretched, ambivalent, even full of antagonism, but all of that can play out in the political sphere without recourse to expulsion or genocide. And that is our obligation.” – Judith Butler

Willing the Possible presents films that collectively reflect on geopolitical conflict. Thinking through techniques used in narrative mediation, the selection of films presented in this exhibition, each in their unique way, attempt to come to terms with the intensely divisive political climate we continue to face today.

Narrative mediation is a subgenre in mediation and a technique focused on multiplicity in the construction of conflict narratives. Originating as a method of conflict resolution in Narrative Family Therapy, it encourages face-to-face contact between parties. In the realm of cinema, the encounter between film objects and viewers — together forming a site for collective narrative plotting — could be thought of as just such a face-to-face contact. Though the films in this exhibition are situated in conflict zones across geographies and times, none make any singular known conflict narrative the central object of their study. Instead, the films allow the possibility of collective narrative plotting as an open-ended process; a way of thinking through conflicting positions in a manner that is as playful as it is hopeful.

Willing the Possible is an independent exhibition and parallel event to the 15th International Istanbul Biennial curated by Minou Norouzi for MARSistanbul. MARSistanbul is an independent art initiative founded by artist Pınar Öğrenci since 2010 and is supported by SAHA as part of “Grant for the Sustainability of Independent Art Initiatives 2016–2017”. Sheffield Fringe is supported by Openvizor, and the Arts Council England.

This exhibition is adapted from a previous iteration at Bloc Projects, Sheffield.

The Goodness Regime | Jumana Manna & Sille Storihle | Norway/Palestine 2013 | 21’ | HD

The Goodness Regime investigates the foundations of the ideology and self-image of modern Norway – from the Crusades, via the adventures of Fridtjof Nansen and the trauma of wartime occupation, to the diplomatic theatre of the Oslo Peace Accords. The film combines children's performances with archive sound (incl. US President Clinton speaking at the signing of the Accords, and Prime Minister Bondevik's 2000 New Year address to the Norwegian people), and documentary footage shot on location in Norway and Palestine.
Conflicting Thoughts: Thoughts on Conflict | Emma Leach | UK 2011 | 7'13" | HD

Conflicting Thoughts explores symbolic events in two long-term conflicts still relevant in Scotland today. A mediator reacts to two video clips: footage of football hostilities captured on live TV, and the demolition of Ravenscraig steelworks. The mediator’s responses were recorded and re-voiced by an actor. The work, like conflict, obscures and reveals in turn.
Exile Exotic | Sasha Litvintseva | UK 2015 | 14’12” | HD

Exile Exotic is set at a hotel that is a replica of the Kremlin. Narrating the exotic beginnings of my mother's and my exile from Russia, the film serves as a platform for us to visit the Kremlin again, albeit by the side of a pool. Soundtracked by an operatic score reminiscent of the song of the sirens making Odysseus stray on his long journey home, our story reverberates throughout the scope of Russian history's limiting of free movement of individuals. This film is a pilgrimage. This film comes in waves.
Electrical Gaza | Rosalind Nashashibi | UK 2015 | 17’53” | HD

In Electrical Gaza, Nashashibi combines her footage of Gaza, and the fixer, drivers and translator who accompanied her there, with animated scenes. She presents Gaza as a place from myth; isolated, suspended in time, difficult to access and highly charged. Commissioned by the Trustees of Imperial War Museum. Produced by Kate Parker. Image courtesy of Rosalind Nashashibi and LUX, London.