Program Type: 
Volume 14: Middle East

Compiled by ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art

January 13, 2011 - March 27, 2011
Upstairs Galleries


For the CrossFade Video Lounge from January 13 through March 27, 2011, YBCA presents a compilation of nine videos that focus on the Middle East, each accompanied by a brief commentary. They comprise Volume 14 of ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art, a magazine in a DVD format. Volume 14: Middle East explores a region so culturally conflicted that the very term "Middle East" is disputed as a holdover from colonialism. With perspectives from both inside and outside the region, this compilation includes documentaries, experimental live action and animation videos. They focus on a range of topics including political, religious, and social dissent, as well as linguistics, food, ritual, media, power, humor, and beauty.

Videos and Commentators include:

  • Crowded With Voices by Anya Belkina w/ commentary by Nicole Triche
  • Domestic Tension by Wafaa Bilal w/ commentary by Carol Becker
  • Uled Tripoli, Sabe Tripoli, Soldiers Lebanon by Teresa Diehl w/ commentary by Manon Slome
  • Survival Signs by Mounir Fatmi w/ commentary by Tarek Elhaik
  • Headlines: A Hybrid Film Trilogy by Sabine Gruffat w/ commentary by David Dinnell
  • Kessler's Circus by Jon Kessler w/ commentary by Alanna Heiss
  • Confessions Coming Soon by Roee Rosen w/ commentary by Bill Arning
  • Soup Over Bethlehem by Larissa Sansour w/ commentary by Nat Muller
  • Beyond Guilt (Part 1) by Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir w/ commentary by Roee Rosen
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  • Volume 14: Middle East
    January 13, 2011 – March 26, 2011
    Upstairs Galleries
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Artist Bio

Mayaan Amir and Ruti Sela
Maayan Amir was born in Hedera in 1978. She lives and works in Tel Aviv. Currently she is a Phd candidate in cinema, Film Department, Tel Aviv University. In 2001 she graduated with a BA in Literature from Tel Aviv University and in 2005 she graduated with an MFA in the Film Department, also from Tel Aviv University. Recent exhibition include: Sidney Biennale, 2006; 8th Annual Video Marathon, Art in General Gallery, New York, 2006; Serial Cases, Exchange program between Israel, Croatia, Belgium, Austria, Turkey, Czech Republic, and Romania, 2006; Gazza, The Minshar Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2005.
Ruti Sela was born in 1974 in Jerusalem. She lives and works in Tel Aviv. She graduated with a BFA in Art and Video Studies from the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in 2001 and with an MFA from the Film Department, Tel Aviv University in 2004. Her work has been shown internationally including: LA Freewaves Film Festival, Los Angeles, 2006; Sidney Biennale, 2006; Dreams and Trauma – Moving Images and the Promised Lands, Film Festival at the House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany, 2006; Naples XII Biennale, 2005; Transmediale, Film Festival, Berlin, 2005.

Anya Belkina
Anya Belkina was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California in San Diego. After seven years of teaching at Duke University, Belkina joined Emerson College, where she is presently teaching 3D animation and drawing courses. Her award–winning animated narrative short Nasuh screened at New York City Shorts, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, The Light Factory Museum in Charlotte, NC among many other international venues. Her experimental animation Crowded with Voices premiered at Siggraph 2007. It received Honorable Mention from the Accolade International Film Festival and from the 56th Columbus International Film and Video Festival, a.k.a. the Chris Awards. Belkina’s most current project Insurgency of Ambition had its European premiere at the Animator Festival in Poznan, Poland and its US premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Wafaa Bilal
Iraqi–born artist Wafaa Bilal has exhibited his art worldwide, and traveled and lectured extensively to inform audiences of the situation of the Iraqi people and the importance of peaceful conflict resolution. Bilal's 2007 dynamic installation Domestic Tension placed him on the receiving end of a paintball gun that was accessible online to a worldwide audience, 24 hours a day. Newsweek called the project 'breathtaking' and the Chicago Tribune called the month–long piece 'one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time,' and named Bilal its 2007 Artist of the Year. Bilal has exhibited worldwide including in Baghdad, the Netherlands, Thailand, and Croatia as well as at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and various other US galleries. His residencies have included Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California; Catwalk in New York; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In fall 2008 City Lights published Shoot an Iraqi: Life, Art, and Resistance Under the Gun, about Bilal’s life and the Domestic Tension project.

Teresa Diehl
Teresa Diehl's sculptural installations are informed by her firsthand experience of conflict as a young woman in Tannourine, Lebanon when the 1975 civil war broke out that resulted in over two decades of war and an estimated 250,000 civilian casualties. The unpredictability of knowing that at any moment one's life could be turned upside down through such violent acts as a car bomb or an air strike is explored in Diehl's work. The dualities and multiple layers of Diehl's installation suggest both the universal nature of these issues and questions of morality that exist in our struggle to maintain peace through the act of war. Diehl currently lives in Florida and teaches photography at Broward College. Her work has been collected and exhibited internationally including at the Museum of Visual Arts, Venezuela; Museum of Contemporary Art, Florida; White Box in New York, and Columbia College, Chicago.

Mounir Fatmi
Born 1970 in Tangier, Morocco Mounir Fatmi now lives and works in Paris, France. Fatmi constructs visual spaces and linguistic games that aim to free the viewer from their preconceptions of politics and religion, and allows them to contemplate these and other subjects in new ways. His videos, installations, drawings, paintings, and sculptures bring to light our doubts, fears, and desires. His work was included in the 2007 1st Luanda Triennial in Angola, 8th biennial of Sharjah and the 52nd biennial of Venice. In 2008, he was part of the program Paradise Now! Essential French Avant–Garde Cinema 1890–2008, at the Tate Modern in London. He recently participated in the Gwangju Biennial, Korea, and the 2nd Seville Biennial, Spain. In 2009, he was present at the 10th Biennial of Lyon, the exhibition Flow, at the Studio Museum Harlem, in New York and the exhibition Traces du Sacré, at the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris.

Jon Kessler
Jon Kessler was born in Yonkers, New York in 1957. He received a BFA from SUNY Purchase and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program. Since then he has exhibited widely in America, Europe, and Asia. His exhibition at Deitch Projects, titled Global Village Idiot, in the spring of 2004 was his first New York exhibition in ten years. Unlike his earlier works that were mounted on the wall and were often read as animated paintings, his Global Village Idiot works are all floor pieces and in Kessler's words, 'insist on their sculpturalness.' They are mechanical events to be experienced, not just looked at. His use of surveillance cameras is a new development, reflecting a post 9/11 sensibility, modeling a dystopic reality where life is compromised by a feeling of anxiety, fragility and terror. In 2006, Jon Kessler's The Palace at 4 a.m., a site–specific installation was on view at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center.

Roee Rosen
Roee Rosen, born 1963, is an Israeli–American artist, filmmaker and writer. He heads the advanced visual arts program at Ha'Midrasha Art College in Israel, and teaches at the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem. Rosen’s painting and text installation, Live and Die as Eva Braun (1995–1997), caused a scandal when first exhibited at the Israel Museum, It was later recognized as groundbreaking in its approach to the representation of the holocaust. Rosen's book, Justine Frank, Sweet Sweat (his fictive feminine persona) published in 2009 was listed as one of the best books of that year by Artforum magazine. The cinematic part to the Justine Frank project, a short film entitled Two Women and a Man (2005), won a special mention at the Oberhausen festival. The Confessions of Roee Rosen (2008) premiered at the FIDMarseille festival, where it won a special mention, and was later shown worldwide, among other places at Manifesta 7, in Italy. Out is the second film Rosen created in 2010. It was preceded by Hilarious, in which a dysfunctional standup culminates with an epic joke set at the Twin Towers moments before they collapse.

Larissa Sansour
Born in Jerusalem, Larissa Sansour studied Fine Art in Copenhagen, London, and New York. She lives and works in London. Sansour’s work is interdisciplinary, immersed in the current political dialogue and utilizes video art, photography, experimental documentary, the book form, and the internet. Sansour references pop culture and details ranging from sci–fi and spaghetti westerns to horror films, which converge with Middle East politics and social issues to create intricate parallel universes in which a new value system can be decoded. Sansour participated in the Busan Biennial in Korea, the Third Guangzhou Triennial in China, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and PhotoCairo4 in Egypt. Her short film A Space Exodus was nominated in the Best Short category at the Dubai International Film Festival. In 2009, she took part in the Istanbul Biennial and her graphic novel The Novel of Nonel and Vovel (collaboration with Oreet Ashery) first appeared in Venice Biennale bookshops and was later launched at Tate Modern, UK, and the Brooklyn Museum, USA. Among the highlights of 2010 are solo shows in New York, Paris, and Stockholm as well as the Liverpool Biennial.

Sabine Gruffat
Sabine Gruffat is a digital media artist living and working in Madison, WI. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Currently Sabine is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sabine’s films and videos have screened at the Image Forum Festival in Japan, the Split Film Festival in Croatia, Migrating Forms in New York, The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, and The Gramercy Theater in New York. Her photographs and installations have been shown at the Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, PS1 Contemporary Art Museum, Brissot–Linz Gallery in Paris, and the Centro Cultural Telemar in Brazil. Gruffat has also co–directed several films and videos with filmmaker Ben Russell and has been on bicycle and film tours across France and Switzerland (La Cyclocinematheque) with filmmaker Bill Brown. She has performed as the Free Translators with Mary Billyou. Currently she is working on a feature film about Dubai and Detroit, performing with Bill Brown in TIME MACHINE, and developing mobile media applications for iPhone.

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
The San Francisco Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Koret Foundation
Adobe Foundation Fund

YBCA Exhibitions 10–11 is made possible in part by:
Meridee Moore and Kevin King, CEC ArtsLink and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Le Meridian
Free First Tuesdays
Underwritten by Directors Forum Members