ARTE: SF'SS: Films 4 Peace

We are excited about our next installment of SF'SS a collaboration with Puma Peace and curated by Melanie Edmunds.  You are invited to Films 4 Peace featuring short films by Isaac Julien, Peterson Kamwathi, Nandipha Mntambo, Yang Fudong and a collaboration between Hank Willis Thomas and Terence Nance. September 21, 2012 doors open at 7pm films start at 8pm sharp! RSVP here on facebook

Artists Statements:

Isaac Julien

“Mazu is a 16th century deity from the Fujian Province in South China, who is called upon by fishermen and sailors looking for peace and protection. In this short visual meditation, I have reworked the Mazu Myth, liberating her from this original context. Here, alone in these distilled film frames, we focus on the famous Chinese screen idol Maggie Cheung’s gestural performance, as she makes her haunting plea for peace and reconciliation. ‘Peace’ is often understood as an antonym of ‘war’ but it also has a broader meaning as freedom from disturbance. This is the peace longed for by the different generations of fishermen, cockle pickers, worldly travelers and migrants depicted in my film installations, such as Ten Thousand Waves, where Maggie Cheung first played the role of Mazu. People all over the word risk their lives daily in treacherous journeys, trying to reach difficult destinations, escaping famine and war, or improving their living conditions: risking everything to achieve a better life. I see this piece as Mazu serenading them all for peace. It is for those weary souls, who hopefully one day will receive the peace they deserve.”

Peterson Kamwathi

 “In my work I have attempted to look at the anatomy and psychology of queues within modern society. Queues, while geared towards circumventing chaos, also emerge as manifestations of social, political, economic and cultural upheavals or shifts. In 2009 I embarked on a small project aimed at illustrating peace. This was linked to a residency at Art Omi. In this I attempted to come up with what I thought then were universally accepted symbols of peace. In this process I learnt that peace is a state whose identity and form is relative and will vary according to the cultural, political, religious, economic and/or intellectual standpoint of an individual or group. In this animation I attempt to illustrate the relativity and possible duality of contexts for peace, where the individual has to negotiate with the communal. The setting for both scenes is a street where a person tries to exist in his space notwithstanding the environment. The individual can be anyone in the visually chaotic street.”

Nandipha Mntambo

“When I began to think about the subject of peace, the words that came to mind were harmony and cohesion. With this concept in place, the naturally occurring phenomenon of flocking of birds caught my attention. A flock’s movement is governed by rules of alignment, separation and cohesion. Flocks of birds move in an extremely coordinated way, creating complex motion and multifaceted patterns that form undulating shapes in the sky. The rules of attraction and repulsion keep the flock together—flying in unison. Playing with light and shadow, attraction and repulsion I have created a film that explores the boundary of reality and fiction. Using the Gariep Dam as a backdrop for the video, I have created a piece that is composed of a flock of origami swallows that are animated to a ninety second solo piano piece by composer and musician Clare Loveday. This work is an interesting extension of the ‘push and pull’ between peace and war.”

Hank Willis Thomas & Terence Nance

“For our film, we traveled to the woods in Maine to put ourselves in a serene environment that would communicate a sense of peacefulness to the viewer. We used the natural elements of the forest (trees, rocks, earth, water and light) to articulate the harmony of the landscape, and the relationship of the earth to the human body as the sustainer of life. The male characters represent the body in conflict, divided against itself, in what appears to be an unsuccessful attempt to overpower the landscape with brute force. The female characters are the custodians of the forest, observing the males in their struggles, and ultimately relinquishing them from their torment. Peace.”

Yang Fudong

"For my work for films4peace, I considered certain visual metaphors. Compared with the eternity of the universe, human life is short, very short. Our existence is like a grain of sand in a desert or a speck of stone on the rock that makes the world. Conflict and destruction seems absurd if you consider the insignificance of our time on earth. Let us distance ourselves from oppression and slaughter. The creation of world peace is more important for all humankind. In my film, huge boulders slowly rise up amidst a chaotic noise that drifts in and out. Human life is not always beautiful, more often than not, we are simply trying to survive, allowing our lives to continue and nothing more."

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