. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

We Began By Measuring Distance

Posted by | Jessica Bardsley | Posted on | February 4, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 6:00 p.m. | Basma Alsharif in person! Introduced by Tirtza Even!

Basma al-Sharif, We Began By Measuring Distance (2009). Courtesy the artist.

“We Began By Measuring Distance”  reflects on intrinsic and imposed distances—physical, logistical, and psychological—represented in works by women filmmakers from or connected to Palestine, including Jumana Emil Abboud, Basma Alsharif, Mona Hatoum, and Annemarie Jacir. Curated by artist and SAIC Professor Tirtza Even, these short films are informed by stories of loss and violence. Together, they invoke and measure the space between past and present, mother and daughter, as well as home and exile. The landscape depicted is irreparably estranged, fragmented, and torn, offering no safe anchor and no available return. 1988–2011, Multiple directors, Egypt/Israel/Lebanon/Palestine/UK, Various formats, ca 80 minutes + discussion


Pomegranate, Jumana Emil Abboud (2005, DVD, Color, Sound, 3 min)
We Began By Measuring Distance, Basma Alsharif (2009, DVD, Color, Sound, 19 min)
Measures of Distance, Mona Hatoum (1988, DVD, Color, Sound, 16 min)
Like Twenty Impossibles, Annemarie Jacir (2003, DVD, Color, Sound, 17 min)
The Story of Milk and Honey, Basma Alsharif (2011,DVD, Color, Sound, 10 min)
The Return, Jumana Emil Aboud (2002, DVD, Color, Sound, 5 min)

JUMANA EMIL ABBOUD uses drawing, video, performance, objects and text to navigate themes of memory, loss and resilience. She has consistently reflected a Palestinian cultural landscape in which the struggle for continuity amid the wider political context necessitates a constant process of metamorphosis and ingenuity. She has participated in numerous international group exhibitions over the last decade. This included the Venice Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial, the Bahrain National Museum, Manama and the Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris.

BASMA ALSHARIF is a visual artist using moving and still images, sound, and language, to explore the anonymous individual in relation to political history and collective memory. She received an MFA from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 2007 and has been working in Cairo, Beirut, and Amman since then. Her work has shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally including the 17th SESC Videobrasil, Forum Expanded: Berlinale, Images Festival Ontario where she received the Marion McMahon Award, Manifesta 8 The Region of Murcia, The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, The 9th Edition of the Sharjah Bienniale where she received a jury prize for her work, the Toronto International Film Festival, and she was awarded the Fundación Marcelino Botín Visual Arts Grant in 2009-2010.

NAHED AWWAD, an independent filmmaker, lives in Ramallah/Palestine. She discovered the world of film and media in the first Intifada, the popular uprising against the Israeli occupation. Initially a self-taught editor, she edited for well known Palestinian film-makers, local Palestinian TV stations and later international networks. She later got professional training at film schools and training centers in Canada, Denmark, Qatar, and Belgium. Awwad’s films contrast the superficial, quick eye of the news camera and edit, with intimate insights rich in detail. She released eight documentary films. Awwad’s films were screened at various international film festivals, including Vision du Reel Film Festival, Nyon, Switzerland in 2005 and 2008 and the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. In 2009 she was granted the International Trailblazer Tribute -Middle East Trailblazer in MIPDOC.

TIRTZA EVEN (Curator): A practicing video artist and documentary maker for more than ten years, Even has produced both linear and interactive video work representing the less overt manifestations of complex and sometimes extreme social/political dynamics in specific locations (e.g. Palestine, Turkey, Spain, the U.S. and Germany, among others). Her work has appeared at the Modern Art Museum, NY, at the Whitney Biennial, the Johannesburg Biennial, as well as in many other festivals, galleries and museums in the United States, Israel and Europe, and has been purchased for the permanent collection of the Modern Art Museum (NY), the Jewish Museum (NY), the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), among others.  She has been an invited guest and featured speaker at numerous conferences and university programs, including the Whitney Museum Seminar series, the Digital Flaherty Seminar, Art Pace annual panel, ACM Multimedia, The Performance Studies International conference (PSI), The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts conference (SLSA) and others. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

MONA HATOUM is an artist living in Britain whose work around issues of fear, fascination, and the body takes the form of performance, video, installation, and photography. Hatoum was born in Lebanon and attended Beirut University College. Her graduate education in London was followed by artist-in-residencies at Western Front in Vancouver and broad international exhibitions, including major solo shows at Centre Pompidou in Paris and Arnolfini in Bristol.

ANNEMARIE JACIR has been working in independent film since 1994 and has written, directed and produced a number of films including ‘a post oslo history’ (1998), ‘The Satellite Shooters’ (2001) and ‘like twenty impossibles’ (2003). She has taught courses at Columbia, Bethlehem, and Birzeit University. She also works as a freelance editor and cinematographer. Annemarie Jacir was named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema in 2004. Her short film, Like Twenty Impossibles was the first Palestinian short film to be an official selection of the Cannes International Film Festival (Cinefondation), went on to be a Student Academy Awards Finalist, and won over 15 awards at International festivals including Best Film at the Palm Springs Short Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Institute Du Monde Arabe Biennale, Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival, and IFP/New York.


Basma Alsharif at the Video Data Bank

Nahed Awwads’s website

Tirtza Even’s website

Mona Hatoum at the Video Data Bank

Annemarie Jacir’s website