At those terrifying frontiers where the existence and disappearance of people fade into each other

At those terrifying frontiers where the existence and disappearance of people fade into each other
Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme
2019
Single channel video, 2-channel sound
10:54 minutes

« And so our need for a new consciousness at those terrifying frontiers where the existence and disappearance of people fade into each other. »

-Edward Said, After the Last Sky

Fragments from Edward Said’s most personal and poetic work After the Last Sky are repurposed to create a new script that reflects on what it means now to be constructed as an ‘illegal’ person, body or entity.  The script is turned into a song sung by the artists as multiple avatars.  Using a software that generates avatars from a single image the avatars in the video are all people who participated in the ’March of Return’ that continue to take place on the seamline in Gaza an area that has been under physical siege since 2006.  The relationship between fugitivity, fragility and futurity become manifest in this field. The project uses low resolution images that were circulated online, the avatar software renders the missing data and information in the original image as scars, glitches and incomplete features on the characters faces.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Their practice is engaged in the intersections between performativity, political imaginaries, the body and virtuality. Across their works they probe a contemporary landscape marked by a seemingly perpetual crisis and an endless ‘present’, one that is shaped by a politics of desire and disaster. They have been developing a body of work that questions this suspension of the present and searches for ways in which an altogether different imaginary and language can emerge that is not bound within colonial/capitalist narrative and discourse. In their projects, they find themselves excavating, activating and inventing incidental narratives, figures, gestures and sites as material for re-imagining the possibilities of the present. Often reflecting on ideas of non-linearity in the form of returns, amnesia and deja vu, and in the process unfolding the slippages between actuality and projection (fiction, myth, wish), what is and what could be. Largely their approach has been one of sampling materials both existing and self-authored in the form of sound, image, text, objects and recasting them into altogether new ‘scripts’. The result is a practice that investigates the political, visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multi-media installations and live sound/image performances.