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5 films in package
Children of Yam
A reoccurring story of migration and the floods we carry within us.
I Feel Nothing
I Feel Nothing is a video-poem inspired by acts of detachment and violent erasures as interpreted from Palestinian folk tale The Girl Without Hands.
Infinite Nectar
Infinite Nectar derives from poetics of space through abandoned Sikh heritage buildings in Lahore carrying traces of 1947’s Partition. These spaces have been resilient to power shifts, urban transformations and cycles of trauma throughout history. The artist unfolds these layers through architectural juxtapositions and overlaying them with animated flowing stones. A fragmented marble hand of Maharani Jindan Kaur returns back to her city, rendering as a ghost reminding the unspoken. The piece refers to the representation of memory through a series of mirrorings with lost and found elements of spaces that have become the embodiment of the invisible.
Sea of Beginnings
A woman who is informed of the death of her dream embarks on an oneiric quest across land and sea as an act of exorcism of a past that failed.
Turtles All the Way Down
Turtles All the Way Down is a narrative constructed from different stories that intertwine debated fictional belief and documented scientific accomplishment. The video starts with the retelling of a story that most famously appeared as the first paragraph in physicist Stephen Hawking’s book “A Brief History of Time”. The story describes a debate between a scientist and an old lady about the nature of the universe. The debate ends with the old lady claiming that the world is a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise. When asked “And what is the tortoise standing on?” She responded, “It’s turtles all the way down”. Moving on, in the next chapter, to Edwin Hubble’s milestone discovery that the universe is expanding, followed by the story of The Great Moon Hoax as published in the New York Sun in 1835. The film ends with the artist proposing the initiation of a cosmic search for what he called the “Super Universal Fossil”; a sponge-like meteorite, that would carry the genetic code of the universe.

This two-part program puts the weird, dark, supernatural, and fantastical at center stage.

It looks at how these often under-explored modes of the strange narrate complex historical, geopoliticaland socio-cultural realities, while opening an imaginary world of speculation and possibility. Through the enchanted otherworldliness of the spirit world, expanding universes, understated dread, and the coming to life of that what should remain petrified, these films not only mash up conceptions of time and space, but also blur the boundaries between human and nonhuman, life and nonlife. 


The works in the program travel through colonial pasts, extractivist presents, and improbable futures, rendering time and geography fluid and haunted. Landscapes, in the form of forests, waterways, deserts and mountains, become animate. While there is always a suggestion of looming catastrophe and implied violence lurking underneath, there is also an immense sense of potential. A grain of sand slumbers in the mountain’s belly, patiently waiting to transform into something else. 


By drawing on folklore, mythology, scienceand the intricate entanglements between deep geological time and human historical time, these artists and filmmakers address topical issues such as dispossession, migration, protracted politicaland resource extraction. Here dead matter morphs into live matter, ghosts slip into reverie, disquiet awakens desire, and fabulation destabilizes rigid belief systems.


Curated by Nat Muller

Children of Yam, Muhannad Shono, Saudi Arabia, 2016, 5 min.

No dialogue

Synopsis: Children of Yam explores these notions through the fictional story of Yam. The forgotten 4th son of the biblical and Quranic character, Noah. Yam refused to climb onto the Ark and chose to seek refuge on a mountain top instead. Though he was vilified in the religious narrative for disobeying his father’s commands, Shono saw in him a figure who chose to turn down doctrine and instead trusted in himself and in his free will. Fear of death did not drive him into the safety of his father’s faith. To that end the artist assumed that Yam had survived the deluge and his children became the refugees of the world, forever fleeing floods. His story and the story of his lost children is a story of immigrants through time. They are the forgotten, the inked over and the displaced. Shono draws our attention to the fact that though some of us are sedentary, we too were once, and again will be, displaced.

Muhannad Shono is a visual artist who feels no limitation to medium or scale. His multidisciplinary practice is catalyzed and structured by story. Shono’s work harnesses the power of narrative by creating and contesting personal, collective and historical truths. Impacted by childhood memories, throughout his early career and until today the aim and expression of his work is rooted in exploring both the existent and non-existent boundaries which have characterized his life. Taking a singular approach, his work amplifies the moment where impact, transmission, and change occur. This results in the creation of relics and symbols which belong to a world all his own and are defined by a constant need and curiosity to challenge the imagination. b. 1977, Riyadh, KSA

  • Year
  • Runtime
  • Country
    Saudi Arabia
  • Filmmaker
    Muhannad Shono
  • Music
    Mary Rapp