Screenshot, Lampadusa (2015) by Philip Cartelli and Mariangela Ciccarello
Screenshot, Lampadusa (2015) by Philip Cartelli and Mariangela Ciccarello.

Tuesday August 30th, 8:30pm | Borderlands: A selection of short films curated by Omar Elhamy

August 30, 2016 – 8:30pm to 10:30pm

As part of our Respondent Series on Tuesday, August 30th from 8:30- 10:30pm, Plug In Institute of Contemporary art presents Borderlands, a selection of films programmed by Montreal-based filmmaker and curator, Omar Elhamy.

For this screening, Elhamy responds to the theme of the current exhibition,The State by selecting films that address relationships to boundaries: charged emotional, psychological, physical and geographical sites, and the relationships that form around them. The films themselves defy boarders. Produced at border sites (Patino), or using the Internet as intermediary for impossible distances (Wolski) makes ascribing them to one specific location challenging.

Elhamy is a director, screenwriter and editor born in Alexandria, Egypt. Since moving to Montreal in 2011 he has worked with cinema collectives, which take up guerrilla-style screenings, challenging accessibility in cinema and public space, as a form of activism. Recently Elhamy began working as a mentor-filmmaker at Wapikoni Mobile teaching filmmaking in refugee & First Nations communities in Turkey and Quebec. His films have been screened nationally and internationally.

1. Lampedusa (2015)
Italy, France, USA | HD video and Super 8 transferred to HD
Philip Cartelli and Mariangela Ciccarello
Color and Black & White 1.77: 15.1 Sound
Italian, French, and English with English subtitles, 14 minutes

Combining high definition and Super 8 footage, Lampedusa plays with temporality in materiality and content. Confusing fact with fiction, the loose narrative centers around a little known volcanic island that erupted a few kilometers off the southern coast of Sicily in late 1831, the ensuing frenzy to claim the newly arrived territory, and absurdity that only six months later the island receded below sea level, leaving only a rocky ledge under the sea. Thematically, “Lampedusa deals with the desire to own and the pleasure of discovering, as well as coming into contact with human fears and desires, ephemeral as a pile of ashes…”

Press: “Lampedusa: a sea of possibilities” in Juliet Art Magazine
”Pensive Short Films About Peculiar and Forgotten Places” in Hyperallergic
“Lampedusa, passato e presente si fondono” in Avanti!
Mariangela Ciccarello is a writer and curator who has worked in Europe and South Africa, and more recently begun making short films. She received a fellowship at the UnionDocs Centre for Documentary Art in Brooklyn in 2015 and co-directed Lampedusa with Phillip Cartelli. The premise of the film is inspired by a series of texts she produced in 2013.

Philip Cartelli has a joint PhD in Media Anthropology and Critical Media Practice from Harvard University and in Sociology at the L’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris) addressing how physical changes in infrastructure interact with cultural programming.

2. مونديال 2010 | Mondial 2010 (2014)
Arabic with English subtitles, 19min 30s
Written and Directed by Roy Dib
Cast: Abed Kobeissy, Ziad Chakaroun
Sound Engineer: Fadi Tabbal and Stephane Reeves (Tunefork Recording Studios)

Mondial 2010 is a discursive reflection on contemporary social and institutionally imposed borders in the Middle East, particularly as they are defined by the Israel/ Palestinian conflict. Shot with a hand-held camcorder,Mondial 2010 mimics the aesthetics of a travel log, an aesthetic referent that is intensified in a context where movement is blocked or dangerous. This formal decision combines with another site of transgression: Sexuality. Here two male lovers are the stars in a setting where homosexuality is a punishable felony.

Context: The relations between Israelis and Lebanese are governed by the 1943 Lebanese Criminal Code and the 1955 Lebanese Anti-Israeli Boycott Law, the former of which forbids any interaction with nationals of enemy states, and the latter of which specifies Israelis, making a trip for a Lebanese citizen to Israel (or Palestinian Territories) impossible.

Roy Dib is an artist and an art critic that works and lives in Beirut. His work focuses on the subjective constructions of space. His films have been shown internationally, including Rotterdam International Film Festival and Palais de Tokyo.

3. De ma fenêtre: São Miguel | From my Window: São Miguel
HD, 11m20s, 2016; Color
Portugal, Canada.
French with English Subtitles

Voice-over narration layers over animated images captured from Google Streetview. Blurred images of a road tracing the shoreline on the island of São Miguel in the Portuguese Azores move continuously across the screen in an effort towards transcription or awkward translation of the artist’s grandmother’s early memories from the first 24 years of her life, which she lived in the region.

The dissonance between memory and lived experience, imagined national identity and the reality of immigration, poetics and simple speech is explored through these ever-moving landscapes. Blurring digital artefacts with elements of the natural world, De ma fenêtre: São Miguel presents an account of isolation and longing for impossible landscapes that no longer exist.

Casper Wolski is an image-maker working with film and video. Their practice, rooted in cinema, explores identity and space within the context of ever-expanding modes of digital representation. Using dissonance as key mode of communication, utilitarian images are repurposed to illustrate emotional and involving personal histories. Collaboration on a variety of projects as cinematographer informs their practice, often taking a slower pace and smaller scale as resistance to industrial modes of film production.

4. Noite sem distância | Night without distance
Experimental fiction
HD/23 min/16:9/2015

An instant in the memory of landscape: the smuggling that for centuries crossed the line between Portugal and Galicia. The Gerês Mountains knows no borders, and rocks cross from one country to another with insolence. Smugglers also disobey this separation. The rocks, the river, the trees: silent witnesses, help them to hide. They just have to wait for the night to cross the distance that separates them.

Lois Patiño is a Spanish artist who combines his backgrounds in psychology and documentary film to create experimental fictions, and installations. He has worked with a number of highly regarded experimental fiction film makers including Joan Jonas and Pedro Costa. His work has been shown in galleries and film festivals internationally.

Plug In ICA gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of our 2016 and 2017 program, and we extend gratitude to our generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers.