Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri
Letter to Harun: Postscript to What Everybody Knows
Date: Friday 14 February 2020
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Commissioned as part of ‘In Pursuit of Images’
In the Spring of 2006 the artists Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri realized a series of movements they called Searching for Our Destination. The trips themselves were a response to an invitation to consider what the place or agency of art could be in front of the violent conditions of life imposed on Palestinians living under occupation. Searching for individuals and communities which could articulate and analyse these conditions; documenting fragments from these movements and encounters resulted into a series of videos gathered under the name What Everybody Knows: Each day a passage and potentially a video – relying only on the materials and encounters made on that day.
14 years later the artists use this occasion and the field of resonance that may reside between them for a new work or un/work, film or un/film which attempts to re-visit, re-treat, re-consider materials from a day in which a resulting video had not been produced in 2006. This work is an opening, to consider the capacity for images to make/shape/occlude/become worlds, visions, perceptions, life.
Structured in the form of a letter to Harun and using their own video material as an archive, the two artists embark and take the viewer into a sort of time travel. Constructing a heterochronic time in which these journeys across Palestine and their engagement and friendship with Harun and his work are brought together to consider what they may say/show, transmit, pass on to us today. One could say, among others, there is a question of endurance, what endures and may help us endure (even affirm) in our gestures, our images, our worlds. All the while attending to the question, which Harun pursued more thoroughly than any filmmaker before him: what are we doing with images and what are they doing with us?
The work will be on performed during the In 20/20 Symposium
Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri (b.1976 and 1968) were born in occupied Palestine and Iran respectively. They started collaborating in 1999 as part of 16 Beaver, a collective space and context for rethinking the nexus between life, art and politics. Their relation to art is in its potential to unmake, as much as it is to make. They understand art not as just another field of human activity or doing, but as a potential space to rethink all activities and doings. In their open form collaborations, film and video remain a recurring and critical means for intervening in and interrogating our time. Their work has been exhibited in the Showroom, dOCUMENTA 13, Venice Biennale and Sharjah Biennial among others.
Image Caption: Film still from What Everybody Knows (2006), courtesy of the artists.
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