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I Watched in Amazement | Small Press Fest Film Programme

Part of Small Press Fest – 16 July 2022, 2-7pm – click for the full programme

I Watched in Amazement | Small Press Fest Film Programme
Curated by HOAX

. Tiny Bubbles in the Wine (Sadia Pineda Hammed, 2019, 5:07 min) is an association-based text and collage film, exploring how trauma is told by travelling down a network of associations, semiotics and oral history. The film explores how a repetition of ‘signs’ can unlock the untold, made to mimic the visual style of videos of the artist’s mother’s hula and Filipino dance performances from the 70s. In this case, through intuitive links (between a story the artist’s mother told about bubbles in her drink, a song she used to hula to, and David Medalla’s Cloud Canyons) the artist’s mother’s untold experiences of migrating from the Philippines to the UK begin to emerge. Whilst this story is sweet, there is uneasiness in its telling. Like a bubble about to burst, or sea froth about to hit the shore, soon to follow will be the more difficult stories of loss, loneliness and disconnect from home.

. Dictionary of Military Terms (Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, 2015, 5:56 mins) explores The U.S. Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, a compendium of war terminology in active use. The artist visualizes this dictionary as an abecedarian text of (and written by) a vast, self-aware military empire. The work presents a visual chronology of modern U.S. armed aviation from the B-52 bomber to the modern drone. Words with both mundane and military functions are extracted, arranged, and voiced alongside stock footage video illustrations in another channel. The artist’s hand softly spells out the alphabet in India ink, accompanied by actor Salma Abu Ayash’s voiceover.

. How to Interview a Person You’ve Never Met! (Alif Ibrahim, 2020, 4:58 mins) is a short film on the experience of portraiture, both as the painter and the sitter, or as a journalist and a source. Created during the 2020 quarantine, the film features submitted clips from friends, artists and musicians as the narrator weaves through thoughts on portraiture and machine perception by Amy Sherald, Fakhri Bohang and Clinton Cargill. Lying somewhere between an essay film and a digital media exploration, the film subtly draws from Ariella Azoulay’s notion of photography to suggest the no one involved in the process has any control on how the subject is perceived.

. The Metro Has Turned Into a Microwave (Pranavesh Subramanian, 2021, 3:33 mins). Initially written as a short story, the piece is about a commuter on the Delhi metro eager to get home to eat rajma chawal, only to realise that the train has been inside a microwave the entire time.

. Wrestling Blues (Yarli Allison and Yin Lo, 2019-2020, 6:06 mins) was inspired by 2019-2020s Hong Kong, a period of tear gas and bloodshed, building up with depression, hopelessness, and the sacrifice of young people’s lives. As Hong Kongese emigrants, the artists find themselves unable to turn their eyes away from this turbulence. But, as close witnesses, they are able to access what’s going on at the forefront thanks to internal media and frontline live reporters, local forums, and friends. The artists feel compelled to question their artistic responsibility to illustrate the people’s struggle and to preserve the unique and ancient Hong Kong language, fearing that without action such cultural treasure could be easily engulfed, and forever gone.

. Sometimes Kate Gorman Emails Me (Samiya Bashir, 2015, 12:47 mins)

. High from Miami Beach (Alice Bucknell, 2019, 8:09 mins). A journalist attending Art Basel Miami Beach, high on a spiked frozen pineapple margarita, hallucinates the ghost of Gianni Versace. The spirit leads our unreliable narrator on an epic walk through the seedy nightclubs and sparkling sales booths of South Beach. They travel back in time to trace the history of tropical aesthetics, and its perceived exoticism as a tool of colonisation throughout Western history, up to its use and abuse in present-day Miami.

. #DeleteTheBeans (Abbas Zahedi, 2020, 13:03 mins) is an online lecture performance, premiered on Twitch.tv for SlipStream, in support of raising funds for Refugee Solidarity Week. The artist used a multi-webcam setup to capture his reading of an essay about existentialism, the philosophical bias of the Western canon regarding art and ideas, and the linguistic blunders that he has experienced as a child of immigrants. The talk is delivered in a way to reflect the schizoid nature of online cultural producers and fits the style of a YouTube/Zoom interaction, which is inspired by the proliferation of talking-head content and conspiracy theories online in recent times.


1.  Still from Tiny Bubbles in the Wine by Sadia Pineda Hameed. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Still from Dictionary of Military Terms by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi. Courtesy of the artist.
3. Still from How to Interview a Person You’ve Never Met! by Alif Ibrahim. Courtesy of the artist.
4. Still from The Metro Has Turned Into a Microwave by Pranavesh Subramanian. Courtesy of the artist.
5. Still from Wrestling Blues by Yarli Allison and Yin Lo. Courtesy of the artists.
6. Still from Sometimes Kate Gorman Emails Me by Samiya Bashir. Courtesy of the artist.
7. Still from High from Miami Beach by Alice Bucknell. Courtesy of the artist.
8. Still from #DeleteTheBeans by Abbas Zahedi. Courtesy of the artist.

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