The Public Outreach Program aims to promote Palestinian contemporary culture and life through creative encounters that target primarily the younger generation of artists and performers. It is a platform to showcase young talent in music, art, literature and cinema, as well as presenting a rich program of talks and performances about the city and its history, interpolated by an assortment of culinary activities involving local chefs and non-professional members of the community. Artists, writers, historians, musicians and performers are invited to give public performances including talks, discussions, readings, shows and film screenings with the aim to bring together community members and creative individuals in a shared space for experimentation, entertainment and free expression.

*immersion: Part I

Short Film Screening

July 29, 2016 7:30-10pm 

Immersion: a state of escape, a state of suffocation. Citizens (or not) of states which engulf and bind, how do Levantine artists portray political claustrophobia and demonstrate the relieving power of the imaginative and innovative? The conditions of life 'submerged' in troubled political environments are explored by filmmakers from Palestine, Lebanon and beyond. While each depiction of contemporary history is unique, this collection reveals a common language of emotive motifs, a shared experience of disillusionment and suppression. Within this frame, this collection of short films was curated specially for this evening. Below you can find information about each of the works and directors in order of appearance.  

Sea Level, Khaled Jarrar. 4’17 , 2012. Jenin-born artist, Khaled Jarrar, gained acclaim for his film and photographic work interrogating the humiliating and absurd nature of life under the occupation. In 'Sea Level', the disconnect between Palestine and its people is surreally embodied by a fully equipped scuba diver, immersed yet sealed off from his world, not permitted to breathe the air of his own country.

Rounds, Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas. 7’28, 2001. Multi-award winners Joreige and Hadjithomas have been collaborating for fifteen years, producing documentaries, shorts and feature films which focus on the portrayal of Lebanon and the production of images of the wider region. Filmed entirely within one car, ‘Rounds’ circles the streets of Beirut with a narrator of its recent past. Due to the film’s overexposure, the city is not seen through the windows, but its elusiveness and regeneration are felt in these winding tales. 

Journey of a Sofa, Idioms Film, Alaa Al Ali. 9’06, 2014. Idioms Film is a Ramallah-based collective founded in 2004,  which supports and nurtures local independent filmmakers and provides audio-visual services. Film and multimedia artist Alaa Al Ali  was born in Burj Al Barajneh camp in Lebanon, and currently lives in Sweden. In ‘Journey of a Sofa’, the hardships of Palestinians displaced to camps in Syria and Lebanon are expressed through the difficulties of delivering a new sofa to a home embedded deep in the convoluted Shatila camp in Beirut.

Condom Lead, Tarzan and Arab Nasser. 14’42, 2013. Rising to recent international recognition, Tarzan and Arab Nasser convey the injustices inflicted upon Palestinians. The brutal Israeli ‘Operation Cast Lead’ against their home of Gaza, resulting in a 22-day long siege, inspired the Nasser twins to explore the possibilities and impossibilities of maintaining intimacy under a level of strain and oppression which forces people to prioritise only life's most urgent needs. When love could most provide healing power, it becomes vulnerable, a balloon waiting to burst...

Pink Bullet, Idioms Film, Ramzi Hazboun. 11’11, 2014. Ramallah-based multi-genre filmmaker Ramzi Hazboun portrays his own city in Pink Bullet, through both a literal story of misadventure and misfortune, and a more figurative ‘dark loop’ of imagery. An interpretation of youth navigating everyday life and a fractured political context, Hazboun creates a witty yet nightmarish pseudo-reality which remains relatable.

The Diver, Jumana Emil Abboud. 4’49, 2004. Jumana Emil Abboud is an internationally acclaimed Palestinian multidisciplinary artist living in Jerusalem. Most of her work reflects her cultural landscape through universal human concerns such as memory and loss. ‘The Diver’ portrays an ambiguous scuba-diver character, masked of common identifiers, seeking the mysterious ‘Heart’. Despite its inanimate metaphorical imagery and disembodied narration, this solitary quest touches the viewer and poses questions of self and surrounding.

Off the Coast, Mahmoud Safadi. 15’06, 2015 Mahmoud Safadi lives between Beirut and Toronto, where he studied film production, history and digital media at York University. ‘Off the Coast’ looks at bodies in collision; here, human bodies meet a body of water in the contested space of the Dalieh in Raouché, Beirut’s last stretch of undeveloped public coastline. The divers’ practices become a political and metaphysical resistance to threats of development.

Without entrance costs, *immersion: Part I was made possible by the generosity and openness of artists from Palestine and beyond in sharing their work with us free of charge.


The *immersion screenings were curated by Fiona Glen.