We Began By Measuring Distance

Basma Al Sharif

“Long still frames, text, language, and sound are woven together to unfold the narrative of an anonymous group who fill their time by measuring distance. Innocent measurements transition into political ones, examining how image and sound communicate history. We Began by Measuring Distance explores an ultimate disenchantment with facts when the visual fails to communicate the tragic.” Blending ambiguous but evocative images of a natural world mediated by culture, documentary footage of violence in Palestine, and staged performances of measurement in an unidentified archetypal landscape, Alsharif complicates the essentialist image of the Middle East in the popular imagination of the West and explores the tension between the landscape of lived experience and the territory. We Began by Measuring Distance interweaves tonal registers as discordant as wry absurdism, cool structuralist detachment, and bare emotion to construct a remarkably compelling meditation on both abstract and concrete forms of violence perpetrated on land in order to transform it into the territory of the political nation-state
Country: Egypt
Time: 20
Year: 2009