Rosalind Nashashibi: FILMN YOUR LIFE WITH FASHION
Thursday 9 February 2017, 7:30pm
Close-Up Film Centre
97 Sclater Street
London E1 6HR
We are pleased to present an evening of films by artist-filmmaker Rosalind Nashashibi, surveying her work from 2000-2015. Ahead of her upcoming presentation of new works at documenta 14 in April, this retrospective selection of films – rarely encountered together in the cinema context – will be screened in their original 16mm format, followed by a discussion with Nashashibi.
One way of approaching Rosalind Nashashibi’s films is through the prism of observational documentary film. And although the act of looking, as a contemplative yet outward-reaching act, is a big part of the Nashashibi method, it is by no means the only way to read her works.
Nashishibi predominantly uses 16mm film to create intimate perspectives and contemplative pacing, adding to each work an exacting sound design. These sound elements collide with the analogue source material to conjure a visceral, physical viewing experience. In Nashashibi’s work, the “real” world “out there” comes into sensuous contact with the viewer’s equally real internal world. Considering the progressive obsolescence of small gauge film stock, together with Nashashibi’s willingness to tackle subjects as diverse as a Scottish ballet school to the Gaza Strip, the films tease out the how and why of the “real,” and the degree of our participation in its construction.
Selected by Minou Norouzi, this event is part of the Whitechapel Gallery symposium Object! On the Documentary as Art.
A Glasgow jumble sale set to an Egyptian classic love song from the 1920s.
Watching the film the audience is unsure where and when the action takes place, questioning the simplistic, unspecific and convenient conceptions of East and West.
The anthropomorphic city. A series of faces found in architectural facades or in objects around an apartment are juxtaposed with shots of policemen in uniform loitering around their precinct.
“The screen on the left shows excerpts from Alexander Kluge’s Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed, 1968, and Nashashibi’s own re-filming of those scenes using artist Thomas Bayrle as a surrogate actor, while on the right are blurry shots taken from ‘Park Ambassador’ and ‘Eyeballing’. Thomas Bayrle’s voiceover narrates an account of what he calls the ‘pact with [the] devil’. Bayrle argues the catholic rosary is man’s first machine—the Renaissance’s answer to automised prayer. As the voiceover reaches its climax, the images begin to sharpen, the edits quicken, and we are returned to a state of crisp vision.” Isla Leaver-Yap for MAP
This Quality is a film shot in downtown Cairo. It comprises two halves: the first shows a 30-something woman looking directly at the camera, and sometimes acknowledging the existence of others around her who we cannot see. She has a beautiful face with eyes which seem to see internally rather than outwardly, they almost have the appearance of being painted on, suggesting the blindness of a mythological seer. The second half shows a series of parked cars covered with fabric. Each car suggests a sightless face, as the fabric stretched around the machine turns it into a face but also seems to hood the car so that it is conspicuously hidden, like a child covering his eyes.
Carlo’s Vision is a 16mm film based on an episode in the unfinished novel Petrolio by Pier Paolo Pasolini. The episode which inspired Rosalind Nashashibi’s film describes the vision experienced by Carlo, the protagonist of Petrolio. Rather than filming the vision exactly as it is described in the novel, she has taken the protagonists, the props and the location, imported them into the present day and used them as the departure point for her film, thus using a template from the early seventies and employing it in exactly the same location in 2011. The result, Carlo’s Vision, is a mixture of observational documentary and fiction – in which Carlo is pulled along Rome’s Via Torpignattara on a director’s dolly, observing the long march of a young man, The Shit, and his fiancée Cinzia. (more)
Commissioned by Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and Scottish Ballet. Sound is used to draw us into the different perspectives within the film – whether that of the dancers or the visitors, ‘the insiders or the intruders’ – while Nashashibi’s camera allows us close-up, lingering views of individuals more normally seen at a remove. The comments on the youth and grace of the dancers, like those used for the title, or comments on their seemingly superhuman strength and endurance, are instances of a chorus-effect, a revealing of efforts of interpretation as well of efforts of looking. The chorus effect, via the ‘gods’, features first in Nashashibi’s previous film, Carlo’s Vision.
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.