Artists' Film International

Artists' Film International

Project 88 is pleased to announce it’s seventh exhibition in affiliation with Artists’ Film International (AFI). Organized annually since 2009 by the Whitechapel Gallery in London, AFI showcases artists working with film, video, and animation that are selected by 13 partner institutions around the world and presented over the course of the year at each venue.

The exhibition features films selected by Pallavi Paul from this year’s AFI Program. Paul  was a part of  AFI 2016 in which her film Long Hair, Short Ideas was presented. Currently she is a PhD candidate at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, Delhi. Her selection includes The Ambassador’s Wife (2017) by Theresa Traore Dahlberg, Safed Sar (2019) by Atefa Hesari, Season of Migration to the North (2016) by Lars Laumann and Techno Gender:Pyramid Revealed By A Sandstorm (2017)  by Raju Rage.

This edition brings together a selection of films that are able to produce gender as a form of exile. Estrangement- whether it is from one's own body, religion, nation, everyday life- is the vibratory surface where the image and memory jostle for space. Each film infuses this arrangement with precise suggestions. Lars Laumann's  piece skilfully renders a constant outside as a queer person of colour. Here migration becomes a metaphor for the entanglement between body and language itself. Atefa Hesari's film Safed Sar weaves the psycho-geography of a child's world and observes its transposition on everyday life. Eruptions lurk around the corner, the rhythm of life can be interrupted to make way for new time. Theresa Traore layers this dialogue on migration and exile through the figure of The Ambassador's Wife.  Trapped in a luxurious life as the wife of the French ambassador to Burkina Faso, Traore's protagonist pushes us to reformulate easy assumptions about power, agency and desire. Finally, in Raju Rage's work all these questions reach a crescendo. The screen splinters into a range of magnifications and surfaces. Blood becomes a form of speech and every cell of the body is conjured as an argument in flight.

Atefa Hesari, Safed Sar, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Afghanistan, 11 minutes, 2019

I am a woman; I desire your daily routine. The desire that gives me hope and takes me to the sky, just by knotting a patch to Alam (ensign). My colorful world is very complicated. The world that drowns me inside it. I can merely protest, may be only around me or maybe just within me. Woman and her world, their situation and reactions toward the apprehensions of society are the sources of my inspiration, the matters that continuously occupies my mind and thoughts. I chose film format, installation and image for my art collection. Currently I am working on developing this theme. All performers in the film are the locals of Chehel Dukhtaran (forty girls) and I shot the film there. Throughout history the Chehel Dukhtaran incident has not only happened in Afghanistan but also other countries, which to me they are, all symbol of women resistance.  
- Atefa Hesari

Raju Rage, Techno Gender: Pyramid Revealed By A Sandstorm, 7.17min, 2017

Techno Gender: Pyramid Revealed By A Sandstorm, 7.17mins by Raju Rage is an audio-video sonic collage focusing on the emotional impact of hormones on the body through self-injecting, surveillance and sensation. Bridging the gap between science, health, politics and art, it questions the role of hormones in social determination of sex and gender, binary ideas of gender and sex; and the innate inequality created by separating people into sexes. Inspired by Preciado’s Testo Junkie, gender theory, online testimonials and grassroots health activism, the video explores what it means to be an object/ subject as a racialized and gendered body. Thanks to Pallavi and Wysing Arts Centre, Supported by a Jerwood Visual Arts Artist Bursary

Theresa Traore Dahlberg, The Ambassador's Wife, Bonnier's Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden, 20 min, 2017

Theresa Traore Dahlberg has attracted attention for her films, which in poetic and subtle ways depict themes like power structures, colonialism, gender inequality and feminism. The film The Ambassador’s Wife (2017) follows the French ambassador’s wife in her comfortable everyday life in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. As the camera slowly sweeps across the embassy’s impressive garden, where workers are busy maintaining its splendor, it is implied that the ambassador’s wife dreamt of becoming a celebrated opera singer. As part of her daily routine she rehearses her repertoire, well aware that she will never perform for a significant audience as her residence allowance prohibits her from working, making a singer career no longer possible. The film conveys the feeling of the ambassador’s wife being trapped in her privileged life and that singing is a way to endure and to hold on to her dreams. This beautiful and subtle portrait manages to expose the dullness of a sumptuous being and the film’s sparse and precise monologue succeeds to reflect on the role of women. In her films Theresa Traore Dahlberg has the ability to tell multifaceted stories about people from different backgrounds. 

Lars Laumann, Season of Migration to the North, 21 min 58 sec, 2016

In the work Eddie Esmail tells his story, arriving to Norway as a refugee from Sudan. His story is paralleled with the diary notes of Ruth Maier, an Austrian refugee in Norway during the Second World War.