from Sahara Chronicle Ursula Biemann

ub sahara chron

from Sahara Chronicle Ursula Biemann

  • collection of video works and photos with text
  • creating a countergeography that looks at the modes of resistence against borders and boundaries, image regimes enforced by Europe. Looks at organisation and figures that play roles in the system of migration.
  • ‘anti-spectacular’ multiple perspectives
  • complexity of installation, multi screen – visitor builds own journey
  • ‘spatial experience’ that mirrors migration
  • running text – network technology – sahara migration system is also a network
  • ariel photographs, mobile architectures, found skeletons of boats 200 miles into the desert!
  • MAPPING – both of the landscape and of social relations “forms of collaboration and temporary alliance.”
  • “traces the navigation of people though material as well as electronic terrain”
  • “electronic landscape” – electronic communications network as well as satellite landscapes/geo info systems
  • I think the use of the surveillance imagery says as much about the viewer as it does about the subject – the development of this expensive technology that is used to exert power and control – the aerial viewpoint, godlike, dominant.
  • The dominance of certain images and voices stops others’ from being seen/heard – a form of monoculture “…sustainable representation would always favour heterogeneity and plurality over monoculture.” (here’s a link to my interest in plants and landscape, biodiversity etc – think about the garden in motion)



thomas rentmeister

installation at Streamlines exhibition at Deichtorhallen, Hamberg

  • creates installations and sculptural pieces using food and consumables
  • exhibited an installation of over six thousand chocolate milk cartons at Streamlines exhibition, Deichtorhallen, Hamberg. Themes of mobility, trade, exchange, commodities, globalization, flow, goods, flow of people and objects.
  • I like the serial object installation that evokes ideas of global trade and commodity, through the simple act of repition and scale.
  • Who was involved in creating these goods? how many people are in the supply chain? who was paid  what? what routes do these products take? how far do they travel?


nida sinnokrot

Jonah’s Whale (2014)


Kist (Flying Carpet) (2014)

  • work deals with his hybrid identity – Palestinian/American, personal experiences and the trauma of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict
  • Jonah’s Whale – hand cut ‘caravan’ – a shipping container that people settle in. Interesting imagery: division, borders, split, tension between impermanence and permanence, trade, mobility, sea-crossings, industry, home, instability, conflict



Grosse Fatigue (2013) video

camhen grosse fatiguecamille henrot grosse fatigue

camhen grossfat

  • mammoth task of telling the story of the creation of the universe
  • collected origin stories from different cultures
  • the film is driven by a spoken word poem – loud, fast, almost desperate
  • research as art – photographs, film, interviews, texts and webpages pop up over each other, mirroring the crescendo of narratives that exist, overlap, compete…
  • themes of anthropology and ethnography, making sense, storytelling, cataloguing and ordering knowledge
  • interesting to think about the tension between ancient, spoken stories and cultures that use oral histories, with the Western practices of historical recording and value of ‘knowledge’
  • grosse fatigue is an interesting title as the film is tiring in its density and noise!!



At-the-border-III 1995

Willie Doherty ‘At The Border 3 (Trying to Forget the Past)’ (1995)

The-Outskirts 1994

Willie Doherty ‘The Outskirts’ (1994)

Uncovering-Evidence_that the war is not over 1995

Willie Doherty ‘Uncovering Evidence That The War is Not Over’ (1995)

Doherty’s practice uses photography and film to look at political issues in Northern Ireland/the troubles. His photographs focus on details in the landscape that bear markers of political struggle. I like the quality of the colour and the lighting – photographs are often taken in the early hours of the morning or at night, which give them a deserted, quiet quality. I am also drawn to his use of text – his titles often provide the conceptual background to the images, and drive the political reading of his work.




Chantal Akerman ‘NOW'(2015) at Ambika P3

  • Ackerman’s last film, made for Venice Biennale
  • multi-screen installation of clips of desert rushing by
  • sound: loud, driving noises, birds, voices, cacophonous, indecipherable
  • I like the multi-screen set up here that has the effect of creating a new landscape out of fragments of different places and different times. The speed of the visuals and the volume of the audio gives the impression of fleeing or hurtling – a sense of violence that is in stark contrast to the contemplative nature of many landscape art works.




From Imported Landscapes (2010) Corinne Silva

  • Imported Landscapes (2010) – Silva travelled along Morocco’s Northern border and photographed the landscape. She then printed these as billboards and installed them as ‘interventions’ in the landscape of Murcia, Spain. “The billboards are a reminder that landscapes themselves are palimpsests.” – I like this idea of the landscape as the bearer of ever changing inscriptions, shaped and reshaped by mobility, trade and histories of colonisation and ownership.
  • Similar to Yto Barrada’s work – both look at the Moroccan/Spanish relationship and landscape.
  • “how people’s actions can be read in landscape”
  • billboards – reference trade/advertising/development
  • interesting physical material – large photograph, spatial, vulnerable to the elements


Extract from Panopticon Letter’s Missive 1 

– voiceover, extracts from sound recordings and ambient sounds from locations

– stillness of the shots


The Enclave (2012) multi screen installation, shot on 16mm infrared film

  • multi-screen installation of 6 – 8 screens, immersive, overlapping narratives and images – appropriate for the subject matter: reflects the messy, complicated ongoing wars in the easter Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • I am toying with the idea of a similar multi-screen set up, perhaps on a slightly smaller scale

‘The Enclave’ (2012) Richard Mosse


‘The Enclave’ (2012) Richard Mosse


  • rhythm and repetition
  • sounds: claps, clicks, beats, pop music. VOLUME – sound in The Woolworths Choir of 1979 (2012) was very loud!
  • screen composition – split screens, shapes
  • text on screen



The Video Diaries (2011)

  • 3 channels
  • found footage
  • news items
  • video shot by the artist in amongst crowds
  • different perspectives

khaled hafez


IMG_0573 ‘Morning Mist’ wall hanging (2006) by Fukumoto ShihokoIMG_0574 ‘Morning Mist’ wall hanging (2006) by Fukumoto Shihoko

– I went to the V&A to look at the Japanese collection, specifically to look at the woodblock print, the selection of which was actually disappointing. However, I really like this ‘Morning Mist’ piece by Fukumoto Shihoko.
– Indigo dye on two layers of linen – the variations of tone create the suggestion of a mountainous landscape/aerial perspective.

I like the delicacy and simplicity of this piece and the effect that layering has in creating a sense of space.


QAGOMA (2011) Isaac Julien Brisbane Interview. Available at: (Accessed: 4/1/16)


  •  “…there’s a question which I’m posing which is really: where is Europe?” IJ.
  • “long, porous history between Africa and Europe”
  •  movement of people
  •  response to Visconti’s Leopard film
  • freedom of movement praised in internet age but that isn’t extended to movement of people
  • the question of architecture and painting, history painting
  • IJ references The Raft of The Medusa by John Louis Theodore Gericault – questions of journeying and movement
  • expanded cinema and more “architectural approach to making images”


Spike Channel Islands (2014) Isaac Julien Western Union Small Boats. Available at: (Accessed: 4/1/16)


  • Visconti’s Leopard is about the decline of the aristocratic classes
  • WUSB is about two journeys: one is a cinematic journey through the history of Italian cinema and the other is the journey of people from Africa to Europe. Dual narratives.
  • Part of a trilogy: due north, fantom afrique. The Expeditions Trilogy.
  • Uses same actors as in other films
  • Multiple perspectives
  • Multi-screen allows more architectural, spatial experience than traditional cinema
  • Globalization and the movement of the body through space – and difficulties


Julien I. (2009) ‘“I am putting the fire underneath people”. Isaac Julien in conversation with Katarzyna Bojarska’. Interview with Isaac Julien by Katarzyna Bojarska for OBIEG, 18 June. Available at: (accessed 5/1/16)

  • “I think in my filming I am always looking at how landscape can transgress space. For example, thinking about those spatial relations in a slightly different configuration. So, in the case of True North, it is really this sort of looking for the spatial aspect of the sublime and how one can in a way contaminate that. And I think there is this questioning of the sublime inWESTERN UNION: small boats. A slightly more troubling sublime and how one can put these things together in the same frame.”–what does he mean by how landscape can transgress space?
  • “If I am interested in beauty, I am interested in a troubling one. I am not making a work because I want it to be beautiful. I am applying the technique of cinema to video art and my work is not only about the subject matter at hand, it is also about, at least, three things. In the case of WESTERN UNION: small boats, it is a conversation with Visconti, it is looking at Sicilian landscape and these spaces which belong to a cinematic history and it is saying: well what about these spaces being occupied by different sorts of bodies doing different sorts of things? How about looking at these broken boats as graveyard as a subject for art. In a way this is a contaminated sublime. I hope!” (emphasis my own)
  • separation of aesthetics and real life/trauma “So the question is: why do you want them to be separated? If you go on a vacation, or beach holiday, the whole problem is that you may find your holiday interrupted by this sort of event.”–this reminds me of the Daily Mail headlines about british holidaymakers having their vacations spoilt by refugees arriving.
  • combines trauma and aesthetics/beauty as a provocation
  • “The work is also a critique of what I see as a kind of rather narrow repertoire of representation strategies for visualising this subject. I have always been attracted to the idea of transgressing the boundaries, of utilising these contradictory aesthetic approaches with certain subject matter. I think that is just as political as the subject matter itself.” documentary is thought of as the appropriate genre for dealing with certain ‘issues’ and Isaac Julien questions this/argues that the documentary format is so generic that it doesn’t resonate with people/challenge them. i.e we have become desensitised perhaps by the documentary form…? what Warhol said when he made his electric chair/car crash/suicide pieces etc. The documentary is too formulaic- Julien works without a script/improvises – is more challenging to the viewer.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012) Yto Barrada On Laziness As Resistance Available at: (Accessed 2/12/15)

  • Gibraltar – place where Africa and the southern tip of Europe meet
  • “…the story of a people who all want to leave.” dispossessed population – this has a consequence on how people live/their bodies etc
  • “The wall of lazy” – unemployed people ‘floating’-divorced from society/the future
  • “I’d say that the figures of men were in the same stage as a vacant lot, for me.” –  on the men in the work
  • ‘undesirable’ people when it comes to framing Morocco as a tourist attraction/money maker
  • “These bodies for me were sort of figures of resistance, they are not sad, they are not lost, they are not dangerous. They don’t fit and it’s good.”


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