Artists Using Video and New Media

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Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

JANANNE AL-ANI Production stills from Shadow Sites I, 2010, Digitized super 16mm film, 14:20 minutes, Photo credit: Adrian Warren, Courtesy of Rose Issa Projects, London, and the artist

Foucault famously exposed the power of surveil-lance in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Using a Foucaultian tactic, Jananne Al-Ani displaces the Orientalist paradigm of the lifeless desert in her video Shadow Sites I (2010). Through aerial photography, the patterns of ancient cities that lie beneath the sand become visible, revealing the rich history of the desert as holding the remains of great ancient civilizations, rather than the barren wasteland equated in the Western imagination with a belittling view of the Middle East.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

FATIMA AL QADIRI AND KHALID AL GHARABALLI Stills from Mendeel Um A7mad (NxIxSxM), 2012, HD video, 15:28 minutes, Courtesy of the artists

Fatima Al Qadiri satirizes Kuwaiti gender attitudes and the influence of Western consumer standards on Kuwaiti values through the video Mendeel Um A7mad (NxIxSxM) (2012), in which four young transvestite men impersonate wealthy Kuwaiti matrons. The four men/women sit in an elaborate ballroom, parodying the Kuwaiti equivalent of the “McMansions” built in the United States during the economic boom of the last years of the twentieth century and the first years of the twenty-first. They are participating in the daily ritual of drinking tea before lunch, separate from the men, who have their own ritual space. Reminiscent of reality television, they gossip about family, friends, and their daily activities. Every now and then, they rise from their chairs to take a tissue from a giant tissue box in the middle of the ballroom, mocking the Kuwaiti middle-class obsession with cleanliness.


Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

ZEINA BARAKEH Action + ChangeNow (chapter one), 2008; Scenarios of Return (chapter two), 2012, from the series And Then . . . , 2008–ongoing, Video animation stills, Duration variable, Courtesy of the artist

And Then . . . (2008–ongoing) is a serialized work of video animation. Chapter 1, Now, depicts rival battalions in Beirut as individual cells that merge, disperse, dance, and attack. Chapter 2, Scenarios of Return, visits the British Mandate of Palestine. Barakeh’s avatar manifests itself in Jaffa, where her father was born, to fight the British and reverse history.


Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

OFRI CNAANI, Still from The Sota Project, 2011, Video installation, 22 minutes, Courtesy of the artist

Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

Ofri Cnaani’s Sota Project (2011), derived from the Talmud, narrates the story of Sota, a wife accused of adultery, who is required to undergo a trial in which she must drink a poison. If she is pure, she will survive. But if she is guilty, her abdomen will explode, cast out the adulterous fetus, and she will die. She goes to her sister, who takes her place and survives. But in the end, Sota does die when her sister kisses her—the poison is still on her lips. Sota dies from sisterly love. Her sister then commits adultery, herself—with Sota’s husband. As we considered this story from outside the region, it seemed to reflect the ambiguity surrounding Israel itself, another example of unavailable intersections.


Arts Council of Princeton,Taplin Gallery, Paul Robeson Center, Princeton, NJ

NEZAKET EKICI, Still from Lifting a Secret, 2009, Performance at the Claire Oliver Gallery, New York, Courtesy of the Claire Oliver Gallery, New York, and the artist

In her performance, Turkish artist, Nezaket Ekici reads aloud from her adolescent diary in which she expresses her feelings about the marriage which her father has arranged. As she describes the situation, she becomes more and more angry. While she has been speaking, she is also drinking a cup of coffee. Her anger erupts violently when she flings the liquid in her cup at the wall. As the coffee drips down the wall, it reveals words from her diary which she wrote on the wall with petroleum jelly before beginning the performance. She refills her cup over and over again, slopping the coffee against the walls until her words have emerged across the entire surface.
Ekici will be performing this piece on Thursday, October 4 at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University. In addition, two other videos based on her performance are included in the exhibition.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

DIANA EL JEIROUDI, Still from Dolls: A Woman from Damascus, 2007–08, Film, 53 minutes, Written and directed by the artist; co-produced with the Danish film company Final Cut, In Arabic and English, with English, French, and Danish subtitles

Diana El Jeiroudi critiques the status of women in Syria by comparing the Fulla doll (the Syrian version of American Barbie) and the marketing statements that accompany it with a middle class young wife/mother in Damascus and the social/religious values that shape her life. El Jeiroudi says that the Fulla doll which comes in a box wrapped in cellophane is a metaphor for this young woman’s restricted life.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

AYANA FRIEDMAN, Staged shot for the performance Red Freedom, 2008, Courtesy of the artist

The significance of women’s dress in relation to the construction of gender is not restricted to the consideration of the veil. Ayana Friedman’s video Red Freedom (2008) illustrates this point. A woman is clothed in an immense red dress. Its hem extends far beyond her feet and forms a train. The swirls of fabric become part of the action as she moves about. The dress becomes a signifier for women’s lives, complicated by social constructs.


Arts Council of Princeton, Taplin Gallery, Paul Robeson Center, Princeton, NJ

EFRAT KEDEM, Still from The Reality Show, 2012, Closed-circuit live-surveillance feed from live cameras broadcasting 24/7 from various sites in Princeton, New Jersey, to the Taplin Gallery, Arts Council of Princeton / Robeson Center for the Arts, Courtesy of the artist

Efrat Kedem interrogates surveillance in The Reality Show (2012), her installation of cameras at various street corners throughout the town of Princeton, New Jersey. Visitors to the Taplin Gallery could view the activity taking place on those street corners, through monitors placed at that gallery. When one considers the fact that Kedem is Israeli, her transfer of surveillance, which is a daily occurrence in Israel, to the placid university town of Princeton, becomes subtly ominous.


Princeton University Art Museum

SIGALIT LANDAU, Dancing for Maya (left to right, top to bottom), 2005, Three-channel video, 16:13 minutes, Courtesy of the artist

In a reference to contested borders, Sigalit Landau’s video Dancing for Maya (2005) shows two women on the beach drawing a line in the sand, a visual representation of the adage about the impermanence of drawing lines in shifting sands.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University
Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries, Rutgers University (solo shows)

ARIANE LITTMAN, Still from The Olive Tree, 2011, Video of performance at the Hizma checkpoint, Jerusalem, 13 minutes, Photo credit: Rina Castelnuevo, Courtesy of the artist

Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

Ariane Littman’s Olive Tree focuses around an olive tree, dead because it exists at an Israeli checkpoint. The video follows her as she wraps the olive tree in bandages. She then wraps her own feet in bandages as well, caring for the wounds in the land and on herself in a reference to contested borders.

ARIANE LITTMAN, Mehika/Erasure, 2011, Video based on performance by Ariane Littman, Hannan Abu Hussein, and Maya Yogel at Heara 10: Comments on the Israeli Acropolis, Science Museum, Jerusalem, Photo credit: Oded Antman, Courtesy of the artist

Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries, Rutgers University (solo shows)

In Mehika/Erasure, Ariane Littman’s performance and video work about contested territory, a map is screened over the artist, inscribing itself on her white dress and thereby showing how gender and political conflict are commingled. In the performance, she scrubs at the map in an attempt to erase it.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

EBRU ÖZSEÇEN, Şerbet, 1999-2010, 16mm film installation, courtesy of TANAS, Berlin
photo credit: Uwe Walter

The film shows a stack of Burma Baklava saturated with syrup like a cascading skyscraper. Şerbet, “sugared water” in Turkish, is repeatedly re-poured to keep the dessert wet. Each application comes from what remains at the bottom of the tray after each re-pouring . . . in effect a love elixir made over and over again. Desire, companionship, falling in love . . . these are all romantic experiences humanizing the dessert, as if it were a living being. Şerbet is a precious portrait of surrender, an example of what a balanced relationship should be. The film runs from the reel on the floor, passes inside of the projector, goes up to the reels in the ceiling and falls. . . like a metaphor for the syrup, taken from the ground again and poured from the top to the bottom in an endless repetition, signifying Eternal Love.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University
Princeton University Art Museum

LAILA SHAWA, Disposable Bodies No. 3: Point of Honor, 2011, from the series The Other Side of Paradise, 2011–12, Plastic, paper, steel chain, and decommissioned hand grenade and padlock, Approx. 34 5/8 x 17 3/4 in. (88 x 45 cm), Photo credit: Jean-Louis Losi, Courtesy of the artist

Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University
In The Other Side of Paradise (2011–12), Shawa explores the motivations behind the shahida—the Arabic word for “female suicide bomber.” Shawa says, “The core of the shahida model revolves around a troubling confusion of eroticization and weaponization. In this installation, I sought to assign to each aspirant an identity and wholeness that would otherwise be denied her in the routinely horrific media reports of female suicide bombers in Gaza.”Included in this installation is a video based on a CNN broadcast about female suicide bombers.


Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries, Rutgers University (solo shows)

SHAHZIA SIKANDER, Stills from The Last Post (left to right, top to bottom), 2010, HD video animation, 10 minutes, Courtesy of the artist

Sikander has used the Middle East legacy extensively. The work with which she first became well known was based on the style of Persian miniatures. Sikander was trained as a traditional miniaturist at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan. She recontextualizes the tradition of Indo-Persian miniature painting by using a contemporary iconography in which she combines Hindu and Muslim images along with aspects of contemporary life.


Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers University

NIL YALTER, The AmbassaDRESS, 1978, Installation (Lanvin dress, video, sixteen gelatin silver prints, thirteen drawings, one monotype), Courtesy of the Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna

Nil Yalter, who describes herself as Turkish/French, is a feminist pioneer who participated in some of the earliest feminist actions by women artists living in Paris in the 1970s. Women’s clothing figures as the central element in her installation entitled The AmbassaDRESS (1978). The focus of the installation is a white satin evening gown from the 1920s by the French designer Jeanne Lanvin. Yalter counteracts the symbolically empty dress through an installation consisting of drawings, photographs, and a video that provide a more expansive view of the life of the woman who might have worn the dress.