Limitless Cinema in Broken English

May 16, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 4:09 pm




17 MAY ’08 – 6 JUN ’08



“Authority and hegemony reside less in the capacity to make commands than in limiting the range of political discourse and choices. Having previously focused on unmasking those processes whereby the past is covered up, Meltzer and Thorne show that it is equally, if not more, imperative that the future remain visible in the dissentient telling of—and listening to—multiple, divergent stories.” [ARTFORUM]

Los Angeles-based artists Julia Meltzer and David Thorne produce
videos, photographs, installations, and published texts. From 1999 to
2003, their projects centered on state secrecy and the production of
the past. Current works focus on the ways in which visions of the
future are imagined, claimed and realized, specifically in relation to
faith and global politics.

Recent projects have been exhibited in the 2008 Whitney Biennial,
Akbank Sanat Gallery (Istanbul), the 2006 California Biennial, Apex
Art (New York), Momenta (New York), and as part of the Hayward Gallery (London) travelling exhibition program. Video work has been screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The New York Video Festival, the Margaret Mead Film Festival, and the Toronto
International Film Festival, among many others.


1.take into the air my quiet breath


single-channel video

17 minutes

In 1966, the Syrian government’s Ministry of Endowments solicited
plans for a building to replace a 14th-century Mamluk mosque in
Martyr’s Square in the center of Damascus. A young architect proposed a design for a 5-star hotel and new mosque. In 1971, his plans were scrapped. In 1982, a building began to be built. Hospital? Parking garage? Military housing? The project—now called the Basel al-Asad Center—has been the subject of much rumor and speculation. As of 2007, the building remains unfinished. In this documentary video, an architect recounts the chronicle of the building and considers its possible future.

2.not a matter of if but when:

brief records of a time in which expectations were repeatedly raised
and lowered and people grew exhausted from never knowing if the moment was at hand or was still to come


single-channel video

trt 17:33

not a matter . . . was developed in 2005–06, during a year we spent
living in Damascus, Syria. Over a period of several months, we worked with performer Rami Farah and recorded short improvised sequences in which Rami responded to a prompt or a text we had written. The final piece is comprised of 5 triptychs, each with its own internal rhythm and logic. Through a combination of direct address and fantastical narrative, Rami’s improvisations speak to living in a condition of uncertainty, chaos and stasis.

3.We will live to see these things,

or, five pictures of what may come to pass


single-channel video

trt 47:04

We will live to see these things is a documentary video in five parts
about competing visions of an uncertain future. Shot in 2005–06 in
Damascus, Syria, each section of the piece—the chronicle of a
building in downtown Damascus, a recitation anticipating the arrival of a perfect leader, an interview with a dissident intellectual, a portrait
of a Qur’an school for young girls, and an imagining of the world made anew—offers a different perspective on what might come to pass in a place where people live between the competing forces of a repressive regime, a growing conservative Islamic movement, and intense pressure from the United States.

4.It’s not my memory of it: three recollected documents


single-channel video

trt 25:00

“It’s not my memory of it” is a documentary about secrecy, memory, and documents. A former CIA source recounts his disappearance through shredded classified documents that were painstakingly reassembled by radical fundamentalist students in Iran in 1979 following the takeover of the U.S embassy. A CIA film—recorded in 1974 but unacknowledged until 1992—documents the burial at sea of six Soviet sailors, in a ceremony which collapses Cold War antagonisms in a moment of death and honor. A single photograph pertaining to a publicly acknowledged but top secret U.S. missile strike in Yemen in 2002 is the source of a reflection on the role of images in the dynamic of knowing and not knowing.


131/18 Thanon Pan


Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500

Phone: 0849281152

Gallery Hours:

EVERY DAY 12PM – 8PM or by appointment



1 Comment »

  1. You can read more about THE SPECULATIVE ARCHIVE from Film Comment, March/April 2004. Here is an excerpt from what Carly Berwick wrote in Film Comment:

    “The Speculative Archive’s strange, oblique, disturbing video encourages the nettlesome, necessary teasing out of ideas about what happens when a state’s memory is pitted against an individual’s, how much institutional control exists over historical narrative, how established collective events shape our own personal narratives….”

    “The piece isn’t trying to demonstrate the fallibility of government: that would be too easy. Rather, through the demonstration of the selective availability of facts, it opens up questions about what we can know through historical residue. In IT’S NOT MY MEMORY OF IT, the raw material of history is rediscovered, released, and, finally, seized and held under a spotlight.”

    You can buy Film Comment from

    Comment by celinejulie — May 17, 2008 @ 12:06 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: