Home Movies Gaza, 24 min, 2013
Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a microcosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity.
Deep Sleep, 13 min, 2014
A hypnosis-inducing pan-geographic shuttle built on brainwave-generating binaural beats, Deep Sleep takes us on a journey through the sound waves of Gaza to travel between different sights of modern ruin. Restricted from travel to Palestine, I learned autohypnosis for the purpose of bilocating. What results is a journey, recorded on Super 8mm film, to the ruins of ancient civilizations embedded in modern civilization in ruins, to a site ruined beyond evidence of civilization. Deep Sleep is an invitation to move from the corporeal self to the cinema space in a collective act of bilocation that transcends the limits of geographical borders and plays with the fallibility of memory. – Basma Alsharif
O, Persecuted, 11.5 min, 2014
Basma Alsharif’s O, Persecuted confronts layers of history and ideology emanating from a recently restored 1974 Palestinian militant film. The grainy black-and-white images often appear hidden, barely glowing from beneath a thick, perhaps painted surface, which a performer methodically removes over the course of the film... There is an outburst of energy as the film shifts registers and shows a series of wildly energetic beach party images. Alsharif diagnoses a troubling uncertainty and disengagement in youth which slingshots from the past to the present day. – James Hansen
The White Review: How would you describe your relationship with Palestine?
Basma Alsharif: My parents are Palestinians who met in Egypt, gave birth to me in Kuwait, moved to France, and after eight years were denied citizenship and eventually immigrated to the US. So I grew up without a national identity, even though I was lucky enough to keep visiting Gaza — where my mother’s family was living until 2009 — throughout my childhood into adulthood. I would say this lack of a national identity is part of the “Palestinian Identity” but it’s also just my personal biography — the path my parents took, the complications and privileges they had. Gaza, more than Palestine, continues to be a part of my life because it was somehow the only place I kept returning to, the only place that felt like home. Although, in reality, I am as much a foreigner there as I was in France or perhaps even the US. And, as long as I have been alive, the situation there has only grown worse. It’s hard to ignore a place that you have a connection to that you see suffer in such public, violent, and wilfully destructive ways.
Read the full interview with Basma Alsharif at The White Review here.
Stills, and artwork courtesy Video Data Bank ©Basma Alsharif. Screening co-presented with Video Data Bank.