Drifting with the Summer Tides
The program will be available for free and worldwide on cfmdc.tv for 2 weeks between 23 July and 6 August 2021.
SAVAC is thrilled to announce the final program of films and screening details for MONITOR 14: Drifting with the Summer Tides curated by Rasha Salti. This edition of MONITOR asks the viewer to float and travel towards different realities and lived experiences that the artists and filmmakers find necessary to mediate and communicate. The program articulates along four movements, Billowing Tide, Wave Crest, Breaker Tide, and Ebbing Wave, featuring films by: Meera Devidayal, Gian Spina, Valerio Rocco Orlando, Jayce Salloum, Sponge Gourd, Mairead McClean, Karan Shrestha, Ghita Skali, Dalia Al-Kury, Pathompon Mont Tesprateep, Inas Halabi and Taiki Sakpisit.
For a deeper look into the program, we invite you to read Rasha Salti’s curatorial musings on the making of Drifting with the Summer Tides.
“Let’s swim to the moon
Let’s climb through the tide
Surrender to the waiting worlds
That lap against our side.”
― Jim Morrison
“A single poem, alone
can turn tides
and burst forth with rivers
― Sanober Khan, A Thousand Flamingos
In the fall of 2019, the Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre at the outskirts of Paris invited Jean-Luc Godard to deploy moving image, video and film installations in the entire space of the theatre for a span of 3 weeks. During the event, Palestinian writer Elias Sanbar, a long-time accomplice of Godard’s, was invited to give a talk. An 18-year-old student who was in the audience of Sanbar’s talk raised his hand and asked: “How can I make sense of Godard’s films? I am captivated but I feel I am missing the meaning, and I am not familiar with the references that are present throughout.” Sanbar reassured him: “Don’t worry about the references, you don’t need to be a savant or cinephile to unlock their meaning, just let yourself drift with each film, don’t fixate on deciphering dialogue or plot. Imagine yourself floating as if you were in water and let the images carry you where they want to.” I was reminded of this allegory, to float with the drift of films when I was watching the submissions to this present edition of Monitor . When I first received the list of links, I (blissfully) did not know what to expect and thought best during this first viewing to let the drift of each film carry me, and shoo away any temptation to research each filmmaker or artist, and classify, frame and index the short films and videos. In my notebook, I noted motifs, or keywords to guide the next steps: water, memory, land, desert, ghosts, etc.
Cinema, and even less so video art, doesn’t intend to communicate information or facts. Its aspiration is entirely different, and although the synopses in the program contain verbs like ‘investigate’, ‘explore’ and ‘probe’, what they capture, represent, deconstruct or reveal, is a much more profound layer of the ‘Real’, or our being in the world today. What they mediate is at once subjective, poetic, complex, and subversive. They weave connections between seemingly unrelated events or facts, they foreground obfuscated chapters from the past that crucially shift perceptions of the present, they bring into visibility what has been overshadowed or erased and give voice to what has been silenced. In other words, watching the films and videos, especially in the time of this pandemic, was a marvelous (and merciful) invitation to travel to different places in the world and drift towards realities and lived experiences that the artists and filmmakers conceived as urgent, necessary and important to create and mediate.
Taking cue from the allegorical experience of the drift, the intention behind the curatorial conceit wants to accentuate the various kinds of resonances among short films and videos; resonances that amplify poetic and existential kinships, or build on one another to generate something new, or highlight consonances across the world. Resonances like tides. Tides are a measure of the rise and drop in levels of water of seas, they are the outcome of the attraction of the Moon and Sun and they generate energy. As the Moon revolves around the Earth, its angle (also known as declination) increases and decreases in relation to the equator, and similarly as the Earth rotates around the Sun the latter’s relative position to the equator changes. The Sun’s declination affects the seasons as well as the tides. The closer the Moon is to the Earth the greater the tides will be. The same goes for the closeness of the Earth to the Sun, although since the Moon is in a closer proximity to the Earth, it has the greatest influence over the cycle of tides. For instance, when the Earth, Moon, and Sun line up (which happens at times of full moon or new moon) the lunar and solar tides reinforce each other, leading to more extreme tides, known as spring tides.
I have described the challenge of curating this 14th edition of Monitor, selecting the films and organizing them into a program, to be like building a puzzle with the individual pieces available but not the final picture. With the allegories of drift, resonances, tides and waves, the framework is neither rigidly prescriptive nor too loose. The proposed program articulates along four movements or allegories, the billowing tide, the wave crest, the breaker tide and the ebbing wave. The “billowing tide” is the high tide, when the water levels are at their highest as are the gravitational pulls of celestial bodies. The three films in that program, Meera Devidayal’s Water Has Memory, Gian Spina’s Jordão and Valerio Rocco Orlando’s Dialogue with the Unseen seem animated by a billowing existential drive to plumb our relationships to place (whether urban or natural), beyond the modern ideological constructs that human beings have vested into it. From metaphysical meditations on the meanings of belonging and placemaking, to exploring the off-frame and mechanics of political subjectivities and placemaking, the second program is titled the “wave crest”. The most visible and emblematic part of the wave, the crest is where the wave tips as it rises and where the water appears to froth. If the amplitude of crests and frequency of waves are in phase, they are said to be in ‘constructive interference’, and that is what the compilation of films in this second program seem to produce, building a momentum of resonance that ripples across the world, beginning with Jayce Salloum’s untitled part 9: this time, followed by the Sponge Collective’s Nothing Ever Happens Here, Mairéad McClean’s A Line Was Drawn and finally Karan Shrestha’s Stealing Earth. Titled “breaker tide”, the third program refers to the extreme amplitude that waves can sometimes reach, the kinetic energy they produce is described as turbulent. The caustic, subversive and absurd dramaturgies of Ghita Skali’s The Hole Journey, and Dalia Al Kury’s Syrialism seem to do just what a breaker does, tumble the ‘Real’ and the lived experience of traumatic political situations all the while instigating turbulence with irony. And last, the fourth program, titled “ebbing wave”, refers to the movement of the tide as it drains away from the shore, the traces it leaves momentarily exposed before it flows back again. The films in the program engage with precarious markings, traces of actions, remains of interventions that have been overrun by changing political circumstances and contexts, in other words, archives and memory subjected to the ebbs and flows of systems. In Pathompon Mont Tesprateep’s Part II: Fatimah and Kulit, the tormented past of political oppression is resurrected in the present through storytelling and language, in Inas Halabi’s We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction the inquest into undisclosed nuclear waste disposal is scrambled and in Taiki Sakpisit’s Shadow & Act the abandoned ruin of a photography studio frequented by the military junta of Thailand revives an unexamined history.
Drifting with the Summer Tides draws from allegories of tidal and wave movements to invite you to discover how filmmakers and artists imagine, narrate, represent and re-articulate our being in the world within a living environment with relationships to placemaking, subjectivity, agency, our being as carriers of memory and of a counter-memory of resistance, our being as carriers of ideology and of struggle.
Water Has Memory, Meera Devidayal, 2018, India, 8 minutes
Jordão, Gian Spina, 2020, Brazil/Palestine/Jordan, 25 minutes
Dialogue with the Unseen, Valerio Rocco Orlando, 2o19, Italy/Palestine, 24 minutes
Untitled Part 9: this time, Jayce Salloum, 2020, Canada/Afghanistan, 6 minutes
Nothing Ever Happens Here, Sponge Gourd Collective [Daphne Xu, Beatrix Chu, Diane Zhou], 2018, China/Canada/US, 3 minutes
A Line Was Drawn, Mairead McClean, 2019, UK, 13 minutes
Stealing Earth, Karan Shrestha, 2018, Nepal, 12 minutes
The Hole’s Journey, Ghita Skali, 2020, Morocco/The Netherlands, 16 minutes
Syrialism, Dalia Al-Kury, 2020, Palestine/Jordan/Norway, 20 minutes
Part II: Fatimah and Kulit, Pathompon Mont Tesprateep, 2019, Thailand, 11 minutes
We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction, Inas Halabi, 2020, Palestine, 12 minutes
Shadow & Act, Taiki Sakpisit, 2019, Thailand, 23 minutes
MONITOR 14 is co-sponsored by:
MONITOR is dedicated to the presentation of experimental short films and videos that initiate dialogue around the shifting nature of politics, economies and landscapes across the Global South and its diasporas