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So Much I Want to Say: A Glimpse into Palestinian Erasure

December 3, 2023 7:30 pm 10:00 pm

Still from Palestine in the Eye (1971) by Mustafa Abu Ali.

Los Angeles Filmforum and Human Resources Los Angeles present
So Much I Want To Say: A Glimpse Into Palestinian Erasure
Screening + Lecture Performance
For more info: https://www.lafilmforum.org/

With guests curator Zaina Bseiso (in person) and Bahaleen Collective (via Zoom)

Please provide proof of donation to Palestine Children’s Relief Fund or Medical Aid for Palestinians for admission to the show. No additional ticket charge.

Masks are highly recommended at Filmforum shows – N95 or KN95.

As we witness firsthand the abundance of power structures silencing Palestinian voices, erasing and fabricating historical and current events, this screening and lecture performance contextualizes the settler-colonial project’s current tactics of erasure. Hundreds of 16mm documentaries were made by the Palestine Film Unit and solidarity networks to portray the Palestinian struggle after the 1967 war. A large portion of those films were confiscated during the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982, making it virtually impossible to see and hear these stories. It is only through acts of solidarity and Palestinian resilience, exemplified by the Tokyo Reels, that we are able to access some of the films featured in this program, while many others remain locked in Israeli vaults,  accessible only to vetted Israeli citizens.

This space of collective self-reflection will go beyond uplifting Palestinian voices. Borrowing its title from Mona Hatoum’s video art piece So Much I Want To Say, this program recounts a timeline of refusals by artists and collectives to remain silent, instead utilizing their tools to contribute to Palestinian narratives. 

Zaina Bseiso (Curator) is a film director, producer, and curator working primarily in documentary and experimental cinema. Her work explores the relationship between the materialities of place and issues of memory, surveillance, corporeality, and nationalism. She received her master’s degree in film and video from the California Institute of the Arts. Bseiso is based in Los Angeles and was raised in Egypt by Palestinian parents. Her practice mainly traverses Egypt, Palestine, Cuba, Mexico, and the US. She is co-founder of Bahía Colectiva, a community of filmmakers that collaborate in practice and curation.

Bahaleen Collective: Today, we are Aya Bseiso, Khalid Odeh, and Noura Salem. We are a group of friends, sometimes colleagues, and often collaborators who are Palestinian artists, architects, surveyors, calligraphers, and researchers based in Jordan. Together, we are Bahaleen, a research group dedicated to exploring the emancipatory potentials of arts practice through a constellation of acts, projects, and productions. We aim to unearth and investigate the socio-political histories and colonized infrastructures of the region through a methodology and practice that offer new ways to experiment and activate research and knowledge production with a larger public.

For the past three years, Bahaleen has been engaged in several multi-year independent research projects that circle around notions of temporality, crossing borders, and impermanent-permanent infrastructures. Through a series of roaming artist residencies, we search for, name, and subvert narratives around water bodies, oil and gas pipelines, tourist projects, nature reserves, privatized property, and the commons through the practice of creating databases of projects, laws, and political agreements that have colonized, commercialized, privatized, and militarized our soil. All the while, looking at the performance of politics on sites of extractive economies. Our research methodologies are driven by an artistic process that utilizes participatory research frameworks, fieldwork, desk research, and documentation while experimenting with and pushing traditional research practices forward, with the aim of treating the research process as a generative space of production in and around art and academic institutions.

What we are doing today: Our work as Bahaleen—during war and ethnic cleansing—continues, and it must. We have come to understand the necessity of our research, always seeking Palestine. We remain captivated by the viscosity of oil and the flow of water, their movement and disruption as they permeate and carve through our geography, transcending their chemical properties. At this moment, our body of research scrutinizing the settler-colonial infrastructures of oil and water and interpreting their movement to chart their cultural, geopolitical, and environmental significance has become a mapping of the infrastructures that feed a genocidal war machine. We find ourselves asking over and over again—what if—as we witness the potential and possibilities of their disruption.

To that end, and to keep this short, currently, we are working on mapping these infrastructures, towards an article that narrates our research and the conversations we have experienced and facilitated. Alongside allies in London, we are working towards a global campaign calling for the disruption of oil and gas flow to Europe specifically looking at Algeria, Iraq and Libya. Additionally, we are indexing dams in our region, mapping the flow of water around us, identifying the political agreements that govern them, their environmental impact, and specifically tracing the involvement of the occupying state of Israel.

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Los Angeles Filmforum is the city’s longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 2023 is our 48th year.

Memberships available, $40 Student $75 Individual, $125 Dual, or $225 Silver Nitrate 

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