Tuesday 19th December 2017 – Formative Assessment Day

The discussion with Emrys and Helen went well. I have to update my reflective statement. I also mentioned that I am not overly happy with two of the prints and that these issues also need to be addressed. one of the photos has come from a video and is low quality, the edited image is also not completely perfect.

Draft Reflective Statement

This body of work considers the experience of being decoupled from a homeland and the sense of rootlessness and longing. A reflection of an individual state of being, this piece also indicates a sub-conscious social-political element relating to the subject of Diaspora. A symbolic object, a chair covered with fragments of road maps juxtaposing rootedness and rootlessness became the impetus for this work.

The chair was taken on a migratory journey which was recorded using video and photography. During, which the chair became divided and then ultimately integrated with a root/route system comprised of fencing wire.

There is a perception that the work of Mona Hatoum has a social-political context, however the issues that she considers are inspired by her individual experience of life. Speaking about her film Measures of Distance (1988) in the interview with Janine Antoni for Bomb magazine, she reflects; “Once I made the work I found that it spoke of the complexities of exile, displacement, the sense of loss and separation caused by war. In other words, it contextualized the image or this person, “my mother” within a social-political context.”

Emily Jacir also asserts that her work is characteristic of her relationship, experience of and interaction with her immediate environment, yet has a social-political context. In the 2009 interview, Border Crossings between Art and Life with Michael Z Wise, she reflects of the impetus for her work and the film, Crossing Surda (2002).

My work comes out of my life experience, and that experience is broad and varied. That particular piece you are referencing, “Crossing Surda”, exists because an Israeli soldier threatened me and put an M-16 into my temple. If I had not had this direct threatening experience this piece would not exist.

The video concerns the journey of Arah, (Hebrew for Traveller). He navigates a seemingly anonymous landscape, Lost and isolated with his thoughts and his memories. His suitcase is empty indicating the feeling of loss and emptiness for a life once lead. The anonymity of the landscape subverts the perception and suggests that this journey could be anywhere, an unidentified location bearing relevance to many.

The landscapes in the film Auto Da Fé (John Akomfrah, 2016) are deliberately anonymous, alluding to the fact that these stories of migration are commonplace.

The video finds Arah at the point where he has gained entry to a new country, liberated to his journey. In the background we can hear a noise from a protest against migration; conceivably this may be a memory from his past where this struggle was real.

Arah may be physically liberated; yet he may still be trapped by his memories and experiences of the past. A perpetual wanderer, Arah appears to be lost; a solitary figure travelling a journey to who knows where. However, Hope exists for Arah, that along the way he may achieve his aspirations; recognize his direction so that his journey can end.

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