The Crowd Behind Us
Ala Younis

We look at and peer into this program under light refracted from its many sources of inspiration. Many of these sources stem from the unknown, and from the struggle with dark spaces, where we have only started to explore. These spaces, digital and physical, create a consciousness that is layered in previously impossible ways. Time, needs and stories press together and in their contact create. Faces look inward, look at each other and the bodies close around them - and, invisible in the crowd - stare into us as well, sparking actions and desires, and carrying with them a current of those just slightly behind. It is hard to tell, in the refracted light of these new motives, new shining thinkers and leaders and dreams if there is a single source for such vital energy - it clears and multiplies - and we are unable to tell exactly who will be gazed at next.


I

Photographs from the collection of the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut

The photographs depict intentional gatherings (1949 - 1980). They conjure a crowd which resonates with the spirit of public spaces. The photographs create a sense of the energy that is found in, and around these spaces in cities throughout the Arab world. The crowds had set out on a vector that extends past the borders of this presentation. The movement points towards the outside and beyond the edges of this space. In these pictures, the spectator as subject is framed, and is caught in a moment of looking outward, towards the masses.

Photographs by: Hassan Badran, Harout Dirmakarjian, Hashem Madani, Abdel Razzak Muhamad, Chafic el Soussi, Samaan Sahar, Paramount, Photo Maradji A.P.P.M., as well as anonymous photographers and studios.

Mohammadreza Farzad, Into Thin Air (Gom O Gour), 2010, 26 min. Farsi with English subtitles

A short film about the ‘Bloody Friday’ massacre, which took place on September 8th in 1979, concentrates on an excerpt of less than a minute of footage, and documents the shooting of people, unaware of an official curfew, by soldiers in Jaleh Square in Teheran. The film attempts to find out the possible identity of selected victims.

José Luis Martinat, City, 2006, 6 min

City is a video work where the artist appropriated old cartoon footage then meticulously removed every feature other than the buildings. The material of the film is a new formation, or ‘deformation’, which removes the original meaning of the work and creates the possibility of new associations and interpretations.


II

Jonathas de Andrade
, 4000 disparos (4000 shots), 2010, 60 min

One super-8 roll composed of anonymous male faces randomly captured, frame by frame, in the streets of Buenos Aires. The looping exhibition runs through this archive along with sound cycles of growing tension that combine urgency and past; yesterday and today; obsession and gesture repetition.


Vartan Avakian
, ShortWave/LongWave, 2009, 7 min. Arabic with English subtitles

‘Some cities have no voice.’ – Vartan Avakian


Neil Beloufa
, Untitled (Sans titre), 2010, 15 min. Arabic with English subtitles

A cardboard decor and photographs reconstitute a luxury Californian-type villa in Algeria. Neighbors and other protagonists imagine themselves there to explain why and how it was occupied by terrorists in order to hide whilst, paradoxically, it is entirely in glass.


Ahmad Ghossein, My Father is still a Communist: Intimate Secrets to be Published (Abi Ma Zala Sheuaayan, Asrar Hamema Leljameea), 2011, 32 min. Arabic with English subtitles

All that remains of Rashid Ghossein and Maream Hmadeh's relationship is a large collection of recorded messages, which capture their 10 years together during the height of the Lebanese civil war.


Maha Maamoun, Domestic Tourism II (Seyaha Dakheleyyah 2), 2009, 62 min. Arabic with English subtitles

Domestic Tourism II explores the ways in which these iconic historical monuments can be reappropriated from the “timelessness” of the tourist postcard and reinscribed into the complex political, social, and historical moment in urban narratives.


Firas Taybeh, Something from the Valley (Shay’ min al Wadi), 2011, 13 min. Arabic with English subtitles

Something from the Valley is a comedy that takes place in the future where things go back to a primitive set in a desert where there has been a river that has gone dry, all inspired by folk stories from the Middle East.


III

Charlotte Moth
, Bétonsalon evening, Paris, France, 2008, 2008, 12 min. English

Bétonsalon evening, Paris, France, 2008 was presented initially as a livework at an evening of artists presentations organised by the artist Falke Pisano at the Bétonsalon, Paris in January of 2008.


Marie Voignier, Le Bruit du canon (The cannon’s blast), 2006, 27 min. French with English subtitles

Each year, a curse hits the Locarn region in Brittany. The sky is filled with blackness. In growing numbers, they taunt the farmers, swarm across the sky in huge, terrifying swoops, waiting for the final assault. The farmers observe their damaged crops helplessly, Abandoned by the public authorities, they are left to fight the war alone.

 

VENUES
I Diwan -- 12 King Faisal Street, Downtown Amman
II Containers -- King Hussein Street, Abdali, Amman
III Institut Français New Extension -- Kulliat Al-Shari'a Street, Jabal al Lweibdeh

 

Photography and video program curated for Image Festival 2, organized by Insitut Français, Amman. Artists: Jonathas de Andrade, Vartan Avakian, Neil Beloufa, Mohammadreza Farzad, Ahmad Ghossein, Maha Maamoun, Firas Taybeh, Charlotte Moth, Marie Voignier, as well as photographs from the collection of the Arab Image Foundation. (11-25.3.2012)

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