Video: Distant Intimacies | Conversation with Jackie Wang, Robyn Maynard, Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, Kristin Li and Aliya Pabani

On Wednesday, May 27th at 5pm CST, Plug In presented Distant Intimacies, an online screening curated by Kristin Li, followed by a discussion with Jackie Wang, Robyn Maynard, Kristin Li, Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land and Aliya Pabani. The program took up the digital in the context of isolation, social distancing, and remote engagement. Some of us were safe, working from home, or using the time of quarantine to slow down and take a break, recalibrate, and process what was going on as change was the only constant. Yet, the pandemic continued to expose existing social and racial disparities, impacting those who were most vulnerable from essential workers to migrant labourers to those who were still incarcerated. Under these circumstances, digital technologies and infrastructures took on new meaning as they enhanced policing, surveillance, and further criminalization.

The videos in this program are tentative gestures of reaching across borders, screens, and prison walls. They capture the many ways that contemporary systems divide and isolate, yet, nonetheless, dreams of connection materialize into faint contours.

the coyotes must see the moon… (2017), Midi Onodera
This project sets out to find “friends” for lonely videos. Each month I found and re-made videos with less than 20 views and then post them back to YouTube to see if I can increase the number of views (friends). the coyotes must see the moon… was composed of a YouTube video shot by Cee52Jay. Although I sent this person a YouTube message I did not get a reply, so I am not sure who this person is.

Eyes in the Sky (2017), Frédérick Belzile
Oceti Sakowin Camp – Standing Rock – Nov 2016.
The Indigenous Rising Drone flew away.”
Video made from a long take of drone footage and narration taken from a live feed and post on social media during the #NODAPL protest.

Dejavu (2018), Atefeh Khademolreza
An immigrant Kurdish family set to pack their belongings and return to their homeland find themselves trapped in a nightmarish circle of events.

Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso (Come To Me, Paradise) (2017), Stephanie Comilang
A science fiction documentary that uses the backdrop of Hong Kong and the various ways in which the Filipina migrant workers occupy Central on Sundays. The film uses Hong Kong’s dystopian maze like structures that the Filipina migrants re-imagine, and focuses on the beauty of care-giving while exploring how technology is used as a pivotal way for the women to connect—to each other but also to loved ones.

Free World Pens (2015), Nika Khanjani
Free World Pens is a film about family and solitary confinement. The film takes shape through letters from a man incarcerated in Texas, whose words echo in the mind of his sister as she walks freely through Montreal.

This video program was originally commissioned by Slut Island Festival in Montreal and premiered on July 21, 2019.