Quello che verrà è solo una promessa (That which is to come is just a promise)
(2019) 22 mins
Selected by GAMeC, Bergano
Flatform’s film That which is to come is just a promise (2021) land and water are the protagonists of this work, at least as much as the people and the things that suffer their changes.
In a long sequence through Funafuti, one of Tuvalu archipelago’s islands (in the South Pacific Ocean) where the sea rises from the ground and floods it, the state of drought and flooding alternate fluidly, and without interruption.
The places and the actions of the inhabitants, in the constant and smooth movement from one state to another, set-aside two recurring situations in the island: anticipation and surprise.
Flatform is a collective artist based in Milan and Berlin, founded in Milan in 2006.
Works by Flatform have been shown in many museums and institutions including, among others, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, MAXXI Museum in Rome, EMPAC Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy NY, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Argos Centre for Arts in Bruxelles, Palazzo Grassi in Venice, MSU-Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Cineteca Matadero in Madrid, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, Museu da Imagem e do Som in San Paolo, PAC in Milan.
Wandering, Wandering With A Sun On My Back
(2018) 16:19 mins
Selected by Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
In Bassam Al-Sabah’s film Wandering, Wandering With a Sun On My Back (2018) the artist imagines the traumatized body as a functioning time machine where gaps between timelines and anomalies cause the present-day body to disappear and is replaced by the body’s memory of past trauma.
Using hyper concentrated computer generated visuals Al-Sabah’s existential film presents a shimmering human representation habituating within dwellings that cannot be escaped. These dwellings sit in landscapes that oscillate between dystopian and utopian scenery. Objects pulse, morph and melt into each other producing an amorphous representation of pain and stress.
The film was created in relation to war, unrealised childhood fantasies and representation within globalised media.
Where are you from and how did you become interested in moving image work?
I was born in Iraq and moved to Ireland in 2004. I think my interest in moving image began as a teenager when I came across artist films on you-tube when it still was not monetised.
During my time as an art student, I worked in a 3D printing center and that began my interest in CGI work. My earlier work was more of a video collage of found footage and my own CGI animation contrasting news footage with the hyper synthetic aesthetic of CGI animation.
What inspired/influenced you to make the work?
This work was the second film that I have made. The first being “Fenced Within The Silent Cold Walls” (https://youtu.be/0ZRVOB6eVCc). This work was a 3D recreation of my home in Iraq that my family left after the American invasion. This film was a way for me to tease out ideas around nostalgia, war and personal mythology without having to relate it to my specific experience.
Themes such as displacement, recollection and the representation of war are explored through reference to Japanese anime cartoons, which were dubbed into Arabic and broadcast throughout the Middle East from the 1980s to today.
Many of these TV programmes featured imagery of revolution, war and exile, gaining a heightened political meaning within this work. As successive generations of Arabs have
grown up with these anime series, my work deals with a feeling of collective nostalgia, an amalgamation of narratives in which fact and fiction, historical trauma and queer possibility intersect.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished working towards a major solo show in The Douglas Hyde Gallery.
The exhibition sfeature a new film work titles ITS DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS. The work in the exhibition considers where human identity is situated in the digital realm, considering what new forms of agency are emerging as we edit, post-produce and play with digital human bodies within gaming and digital image making. The film challenges conventional notions of the body's limits using CGI technology, with ever-shifting avatars that become bruised, bleed, and experience joy and death simultaneously.
Bassam Al-Sabah (1994, Iraq) is an interdisciplinary artist working with film, video, sculpture, and paintings. He has been awarded residencies in Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and The RHA (Dublin), Gasworks (London), and Cite Internationale des Art (Paris).
Recent solo exhibitions include De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2022) Gasworks, London (2021), The Glucksman Museum, Cork (2021) and Solstice Art Center, Navan (2019). His work has been screened in The Barbican (London) The Jeu De Paume (Paris), SQIFF (Scotland), EX-IS (Korea), and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin).