Expired April 21, 2023 3:59 AM
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This two-part program puts the weird, dark, supernatural, and fantastical at center stage. It looks at how these often-underexplored 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

Program (Part 2):

I Feel Everything, Jumana Emil Abboud, Palestine, 2020, 9 min.

Then Came Dark, Marie-Rose Osta, Lebanon, 2021, 15 min.

The Mountain, Ghassan Salhab, Lebanon, 2010, 83 min. - To watch The Mountain go to link here. (Geo restrictions apply)

I Feel Everything, Jumana Emil Abboud, Palestine, 2020, 9 min.


Synopsis: In the original Palestinian folktale, a man must find a remedy to cure his two wives of their/his infertility. He seeks the advice of the sheikh (village chief), who tells him that the answer lies with the village ghoul (evil spirit/shapeshifter). The ghoul in turn points him in the direction of the ghouleh (female ghoul). The ghouleh agrees to help him because he secretly suckled from her breast as he came upon her and found her sleeping. Now having tasted her milk, he becomes dearer to her than her own children and she therefore guides him to the pomegranate tree by the enchanted spring which bears pomegranates that cure the infertile. He is consumed with hunger on his return journey and eats half of one pomegranate. Months or years later, one of his wives gives birth to twin boys, while the one who ate the half-pomegranate births “Nos-Nsais” (Half-a-Halfling), a half-child. It is never clear in the folktale who or what the half-child is, even when they are most certainly positioned as being an outcast. 

Abboud was inspired by this figure and the condition that breathed life into the halfling's story-being. She rediscovers Half-a-Halfling beyond the adventure and triumph of a half-child. This figure is reimagined as a body of water, or a piece of memory that returns — unfixed in time — to a place desiring confrontation and belief. The video’s narrator traverses between the past and present, and between multiple voices of child, mother, animal, water source and spirit, recounting a tale that ultimately originates out of the unbearable state of "halfness".

Commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation - 2020. Conceived in gratitude to the co-support and collaboration of Sakiya art/science/agriculture, 'Ein Qiniya community, the Water Diviners group Palestine, Issa Freij and the Sharjah Art Foundation.

See video for full credits.

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 Londo

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    Palestine, State of