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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.
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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

I Feel Nothing, Jumana Emil Abboud, Palestine / England, 2012, 8 min.

English with Arabic subtitles

Synopsis: I Feel Nothing began as a multi-faceted investigation into the sense of touch; detachment; the relationship between the body and memory; between land and its "spiritual" history/presence; superstitions; wives' tales; sacred stones and votive offerings as once deeply lived and practiced within Palestinian heritage. 

The folk tale that undergoes Abboud’s disassembly is a tale about a brother who wrongfully judges his sister to be a ghoul (evil spirit/shapeshifter) after the disappearance of his new-borns. He later realizes that his estranged spouse – who is in fact a goblin – is responsible for their deaths. It is too late to undo what he has done by the time of his realization – for he has already taken his sister to the outskirts of the village and abandoned her without her hands and feet. Eventually, an enchanted snake restores the girl’s limbs and she continues to live a long and fulfilling life.

Over ten variants of folk tales about handless maidens exist around the world. Inspired by such tales, I Feel Nothing is a metaphorical video-poem, where a relationship is recounted, though remains ambiguous if it is between a man and a woman, the past and the present, or an individual and a homeland. 

The work was commissioned for the exhibition Points of Departure, resulting from a year-long partnership between Delfina Foundation, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Art School Palestine and British Council. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Jumana Emil Abboud explores personal and collective stories and mythologies where folklore and contemporary experience are integrated to embrace fabulation, collectivity, dispossession, and entitlement. Her practice relies on the symbiosis of biography, heritage, and ancestry to identify and (re)define our relationship to land and water, particularly as traversed through knowledge that is oral, intangible, and collaborative. Over the last decade Abboud has drawn from folklore’s attentiveness to water — more specifically in the context of Palestine — where stories brave between the real and the fictitious, born out of imaginaries of belonging and indigeneity and out of the joys and sorrows of the dispossessed (water, human, more-than-human, me, you).

Her work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions including at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Khalil Sakakini Cultural center; Darat al Funun; Seoul Museum of Art – SeMA; Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts; Casco Art Institute, working for the Commons; TBA21-Academy podcast series; Jameel Arts Centre; as well as the Lyon, Sharjah, Venice, Istanbul, Sydney Biennales, and in Documenta fifteen. Abboud practices from Jerusalem and London and is currently pursuing a practice-led PhD at Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.

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    Palestine, State of, United Kingdom