Documents of Displacement II

Film projections by David Hartt and Farah Al Qasimi
Event, in English, Shaughnessy House, 3 December 2023, 3pm

Join us for the second chapter of our series of presentations and discussions Documents of Displacement, during which we will screen films by Farah Al-Qasimi and David Hartt. The screenings will be introduced by artist and curator Joyce Joumaa and Hester Keijser, Curator of Photography and New Media at the CCA, who will then lead an informal discussion with snacks and popcorn.

Through a practice that straddles photography, performance, music, and cinema, Farah Al-Qasimi questions the colonial history of the Arabic Gulf region and the impact of modern economic development on both the region’s environment and its intersecting cultures.

In Surge (2022), Al-Qasimi gives voice to the Gulf’s marine life, allowing it to share its perspective on the human activities that are increasingly altering its habitat.

In Mother of Fog (2023), she investigates the myth of piracy instigated by the Al-Qasimi tribe in the Gulf’s waters by combining the perspectives of several historical and mythical characters. The work puts into question Western historiographies of the region and highlights the colonial dynamics that continue to influence its development.

David Hartt’s work explores how historical ideas and ideals persist or transform over time through film, photography, installation, and sculpture.

Straylight (2011) documents the headquarters of the Johnson Publishing Company, the first building designed by a Black architect in Chicago since the eighteenth century. The film juxtaposes contemplative shots of the building’s interior with a soundtrack composed by Nicole Mitchell.

Adrift (2015) takes place fifty years into the future, at a time when the entire population of the island nation of Tuvalu has had to emigrate due to the rising sea level and has relocated to an arcology on the banks of the Mississippi River. Through this speculative tale, the film explores themes of connection to the land and sovereignty at a time of increasing ecological precarity.

In Et in Arcadia Ego (2022), Hartt stages a fable in which Philip Johnson’s modernist residence becomes the home of Olimpia and Orion, adapting the traditional roles of the mythological figures to contemporary African American reality.

Documents of Displacement proposes to explore the notion of displacement and its diverse meanings and effects in photographic and video works of artists. The invited artists all live in North America but develop their work from a sense of displacement, whether from their cultural or geographic origins. These presentations and discussions are part of a series of events accompanying the exhibition The Lives of Documents—Photography as Project, which looks at the processes and methodologies of artists and photographers in constructing visual arguments, critiques, research, and observations on our built environment.

Before the screening, join Stefano Graziani (curator of The Lives of Documents—Photography as Project) and Émilie Retailleau (assisant curator of The Lives of Documents—Photography as Project) for free guided tours of the exhibition in our Main galleries. They will introduce you to the ideas, photographic projects, and research processes presented in this exhibition.

Guided tours for adults:
1pm: in French (led by Émilie Retailleu, assistant curator of The Lives of Documents—Photography as Project)
2pm: in English (led by Stefano Graziani, curator of The Lives of Documents—Photography as Project)

Farah Al-Qasimi is an artist and musician from Abu Dhabi, UAE, who lives and works in Brooklyn and Dubai. Often working with large-scale vinyl imagery and a multiplicity of photographic prints and screens, she is interested in the Internet and its hierarchies of information and emotion. She has a highly collaborative practice and has worked with hand-sewn puppets, falcons, African land snails, exorcists, and most recently, a Jack Sparrow impersonator. She has a Master’s in Fine Arts from Yale School of Art. Her works are found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, MIT List Visual Arts Center, The Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum, Art Jameel in Dubai, and Grey Art Gallery at New York University. She is also the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including Light Work Residency, the Aaron Sisking Foundation Individual Photographers Grant, the NADA Artadia Award, and the Delfina Foundation Residency in London.

Born in Montreal in 1967, David Hartt lives and works in Philadelphia where he teaches at the department of fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania. His photographs, films, sculptures, and installations are part of the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, the Jewish Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Canada, the Nasher Museum of Art, the RISD Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His recent exhibitions include The Histories at Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, A Colored Garden at The Glass House, Connecticut, and the group exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


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