In December of our war year, a Communist filmmaker disappeared. Later, a rumor circulated: He was making a different war film, embarrassing to our own side. He had left behind a 16 mm film, hidden inside a can of cooking flour. It may not have been the enemy army that killed him.
Mohaiemen’s work over the last decade has included a search for mirages such as this missing film canister. At the inflection point of digital dystopia, we still attach hope onto the analog. The revealed futility of these quests leads to new stories to take away the bitter.
This lecture will be followed by a conversation with Sylvia Schedelbauer as respondent.
Naeem Mohaiemen combines essays, films, drawings, and installations to research left insurgencies and incomplete decolonizations– framed by Third World Internationalism and World Socialism. Despite underscoring a left tendency toward misrecognition, a hope for a future international left, against current silos of race and religion, is a basis for the work. He is author of Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014), editor of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism (Drishtipat, 2010), co-editor (w/ Lorenzo Fusi) of System Error: War is a Force that Gives us Meaning (Sylvana, 2007) and co-editor (w/ Eszter Szakacs) of Solidarity Must be Defended (Tranzit/ Van Abbe/ Salt/ Tricontinental, forthcoming). Naeem was a Guggenheim Fellow, and was shortlisted for the 2008 Villem Flusser Award (for the essay “Fear of a Muslim Planet: Islamic roots of Hip-Hop,” Sound Unbound, MIT Press) and the 2018 Turner Prize. His work was recently exhibited at SALT Beyoglu (Istanbul), Mahmoud Darwish Museum (Ramallah), Tate Britain (London), Vasas Federation of Metalworkers’ Union (Budapest), MoMA PS1 (New York), Abdur Razzaq Foundation (Dhaka), and documenta 14 (Athens/Kassel). He received his PhD in Anthropology at Columbia University.
Sylvia Schedelbauer’s films negotiate the space between broader historical narratives and personal, psychological realms, mainly through poetic manipulations of found and archival footage. Schedelbauer holds an MFA from the Berlin University of Arts. Her films have shown at international film festivals in Berlin, Toronto, New York, London, Cork, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Buenos Aires and Oberhausen; as well as events and venues such as the Moving Image Biennial Buenos Aires, Dhaka Art Summit, National Gallery of Art, Wexner Center, KunstWerke Berlin, Grazer Kunstverein, Anthology Film Archives, Tiff Bell Lightbox, Irish Film Institute, Pacific Film Archive, Cinemateca Nacional Del Ecuador, National Film Archive Pune, National Film Archive South Korea, DocLab Hanoi, and Contemporary Art Platform Kuwait. Awards include the VG Bildkunst Award, the German Film Critics’ Award and the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film.