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Sep 30, 2020 at 7:30 pm

In The Presence of Others: Principles for Decolonial Film

Conversation and Screening with MTL Collective, Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Helene Kazan & Jason Fox and Nicholas Gamso

Come celebrate the launch of World Records: Volume 4: In The Presence of Others, edited by Jason Fox and Nicholas Gamso and published by UnionDocs. World Records is a peer-reviewed documentary journal that aims to bring together the voices of scholars, critics, makers, and curators who offer new and complex perspectives on documentary to challenge and extend its margins.

For Volume 4: In The Presence of Others, World Records explores how documentary may provide a platform and grounds for collective action.

On the occasion of the launch, we’re partnering with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics to gather the artist/activists of MTL Collective (Nitasha Dhillon and Amin Husain) and Helene Kazan and author of Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism Ariella Aïsha Azoulay. We will present new work and deep cuts, to engage MTL Collective’s “Principles for Decolonial Film,” published in World Records Vol 4, In the Presence of Others, to investigate the role of film in the project of what Azoulay calls “unlearning imperialism.”

We’ll be gathering with a small group in the new UNDO LEAN-TO with MTL Collective and broadcasting online with other guests and online viewers. RSVP or reserve a seat to join this conversation!


Principles for Decolonial Film

 In the Presence of Others explores how the writings of Hannah Arendt can help us rethink the role of documentary in decolonial practices of visualizing and producing common worlds. In this roundtable conversation we will look to exemplify the practices described in the MTL Collective article Principles of Decolonial Film with our esteemed panel and open up a dialogue around whether filmmaking can move beyond showing and telling and toward building, breathing, and living.

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Participant Bios

Amin Husain and Nitasha Dhillon are MTL, a collective that joins research and activism with artistic practice. MTL’s work has been curated in major international art exhibitions and festivals around the world including the 2016 Athens Biennale and the 2015 Venice Biennale, among other venues. MTL collective is a core member of Gulf Labor Coalition (GLC). MTL is also a founding member of Decolonial Cultural Front (DCF) and Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) MTL is founder and managing editor of Tidal: Occupy Theory, a printed and online movement-generated theory magazine.

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay is Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University and Modern Art, Culture, and Media at Brown University and a documentary filmmaker.

Helene Kazan is an artist, writer and curator, and a 2018-2020 Vera List Center Fellow. Her interdisciplinary and multi-media practice investigates risk through an analysis of international law, architecture, and the human experience of violence, observed and argued through the frame of ‘poetic testimony’. Kazan received her PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London (2019). She curated ‘Points of Contact’ at Goethe Institute, Lebanon, and the Arab Center for Architecture (2018). Her work’s been shown at Ashkal Alwan/Digital Earth, Beirut (2019), The Serpentine Gallery, London (2017), marra.tein, Beirut, (2016), Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow (2016), Ibraaz (2015), Tate Britain, London (2015), Mosaic Rooms, London (2015), The Showroom, London (2014), the House of World Cultures (HKW), Berlin (2014), and the Beirut Art Center (2013). Kazan recently published ‘The Architecture of Slow, Structural and Spectacular Violence and the Poetic Testimony of War’ in a special issue on Gender, War, and Technology (Australian Feminist Law Journal, 2018), ‘On Shelter and International Law’ (Avery Shorts, 2018), ‘Accident and Design in Aerial Bombardment’ (The Funambulist, 2016) and ‘What the War Will Look Like’ in Forensis (Sternberg, 2014). Kazan is a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London. www.helenekazan.co.uk

Jason Fox is a filmmaker and professor based in New York City. He has taught at Vassar College, Cooper Union and at CUNY Hunter College. As well, he has worked as a documentary programmer in conjunction with The American Museum of Natural History, The Flaherty Seminar, and Maysles Cinema, among others. He also serves on the Board of Organization for Visual Progression, an organization that partners with social justice organizations to provide training on using visual media in their advocacy efforts. He holds an MA from New York University and and MFA from CUNY Hunter College.

Nicholas Gamso is the author of Art After Liberalism (forthcoming from Columbia Books on Architecture & the City), which explores new political crises through readings in contemporary art and media. Nick holds a PhD from CUNY and has taught at the Pratt Institute, San Francisco Art Institute, and Stanford University, where he was a 2018-2019 Creative Cities Fellow. Nick’s writings appear in journals such as Afterimage, ASAP, Social Text, Third Text, and the Brooklyn Rail.

Presented With

The Vera List Center for Art and Politics

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Sep 30, 2020
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Free – $24.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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