spending the weekend with my wonderful sister, niece, children, and the lively little loulou <3
a friend from rochester
our first friend from rochester to visit us here in setauket! so lovely to hang out with arseniy <3
Etel Adnan: You know, sunsets are violently beautiful, I would say that they are so by definition, but there are lights, not even colorful in the habitual sense, lights elemental, mercurial, silvery, sulfurous, copper-made, that make us stop, then lose balance, make us open our arms not knowing what else to do, arrest us as if struck by lightning, a soft lightning, a welcome one. I wait for those lights, I know some of you do too, wherever you are, I mean when you are standing by an ocean, alone, within the calmness of your spirit. Be planetary.
[West Meadow Beach today]
lunch with friends
on monday, lunch with lovely friends who happen to be my neighbors. one of them is a hollywood set designer and has worked on succession, julie & julia, spider-man, john wick, little children, and a million other films. her work goes all the way back to big and heartburn. 1 oscar, 8 nominations. pretty cool, no? when we met she asked me: ‘are u a member of the academy?’ i’ve never even considered such a question:)
what a day yesterday!
morocco beats portugal and makes history. the global south celebrates en masse. it’s also my birthday. i get to hear from lovely people i’ve known across decades and continents – primary and middle school in brussels, high school in islamabad, college in karachi, university in connecticut, filmmaking / activism / beloved community in rochester, new friends on long island, like-minded compadres on facebook, and family all over the world. my husband and i spend the day in nyc. we meet our kids and have dinner at ‘let’s meat’ in koreatown. after enjoying an excellent meal, we walk to my son’s apt, eat cake, play with the fabulous loulou, and watch ‘top gun: maverick’ together. how fun is that? thank u everyone for all the warmth, love and sweet wishes – i couldn’t be more grateful <3
my short film – best in show
with the wonderful christophe lima, juror for the new exhibition at huntington arts council which opened today. the theme of the exhibition is the exploration of the human body. i wrote a poem called ‘the body has memory’ and created a short experimental film around it. not only was it selected for the exhibition but it won ‘best in show.’ couldn’t be more excited!
thank u Rajesh Barnabas for the beautiful cinematography and Mariko Yamada for the dance choreography. stunning dance performances by Cloria Iampretty and mariko. mostly thank u all for being who u are. sharing some of rochester’s talent and heart here on long island <3
career panel at pronto
wonderful journalism and documentary career panel discussion yesterday, organized by pronto in bay shore. pronto is a nonprofit doing amazing work on long island, from being a food pantry, to helping with govt paperwork and providing after school programs to students, it’s a one-stop support system that people can rely on. thank u ginger for inviting me to the panel <3
cousin, friend, catching up after years, talking till 4 in the morning, walk at west meadow beach <3
with the lovely madeline del toro churney at druthers coffee today. yes, it was a sunny day but a lot of what u see in this picture is madeline, full of knowledge, humor and light. one of my life’s greatest accomplishments is the connection/friendships with extraordinary people, esp women of color. thrilled to continue that tradition here on long island. madeline teaches anthropology at stony brook and i am excited to say, will be one of the panelists for a post-screening community discussion related to a new short film i will be working on next year. more soon.
part of nature
i try to take breaks in between editing (which requires sitting at a computer for long periods of time, staring intently at a screen).
it’s super windy today, so much so that temperatures feel 10 degrees lower than they are. the husband was too cozy reading his book, so i put on my hat and jacket, grabbed my ski gloves and went to west meadow wetlands reserve (next to our house) for a 45 min walk.
i half walked, was half carried by the wind. it was invigorating to feel its force on my body and skin. the trees around me were twisting in the same gusty gale, the grass flattened by it, combed with little bits of sunlight, a few obstinate leaves held on to their branches like yellow tongues licking the sky, everything imbued with a deceptively warm rusty glow.
the clouds waited patiently, capturing and refracting each shade and emotion. the sun finally set in a climactic scene, birds windsurfed overhead, deer walked by me as if it was the most natural thing in the world. what a beautiful home, our planet. it’s the lifeblood that activates our minds and bodies. grateful to be alive, to be present.
highlights from my playlist: tu aja (remix by DJ usman bhatti), yamaha (dacosta), more than this (roxy music), 1979 (the smashing pumpkins), island in the sun (weezer), and float on (modest mouse)
My questions for Shirly Bahar
The obligatory selfie after a satisfying dinner. It was a full house at Hofstra on Nov 9th for a discussion about Shirly Bahar’s book, ‘Documentary Cinema in Israel-Palestine: Performance, the Body, the Home,’ and my film, ‘The Injured Body.’ Here are my questions for Shirly:
1) You say that although oppression and racialization have impacted Palestinians and Mizrahim differently, the documentaries you discuss in the book share a political commitment and performative affinities. They defy the removal of the pain of Israel’s marginalized people from public visibility.
You discuss how documentary performances of pain by Palestinians and Mizrahim, when seen together, invite us to contest the segregation of pain and consider reconnection. Could you elaborate on that?
2) There is one sentence in your book which hit me hard. It is the commonly held notion that ‘the trauma of witnessing destruction directly harms the usage of language.’
Meaning that those who are occupied (on whose minds and bodies violence is constantly enacted) are never seen as credible witnesses of their own pain, of their own lived experiences, based on dominant codes of credibility. It’s like the gaslighting I was talking about in the context of microaggressions. You take issue with this notion. Could you tell us more?
3) Since we are talking about language and violence, I also wanted to bring up the constant threat of violence. You talk about Palestinian children experiencing ‘withheld violence.’
Your words reminded me of Fanon of course, and the muscular contraction of the colonized body. What does this imply in the P/I context?
4) I would like to end with something you say in the book, that ‘it takes perpetual learning and training to try and relate to the pain of others in a politically informed and committed manner.’
You also say: ‘More often than not, those who care for the pain of others are found in relative vulnerability themselves—political, physical, mental—thus chancing their becoming further undone.’
I think of the #BLM movement and its principled support for justice in Palestine. Could you expand on this important point.
hofstra lecture <3
wonderful event at hofstra university yesterday with the brilliant shirly bahar and santiago slabodsky. full house and then the evening ended w dinner at akbar in garden city with all of us and sally, julie, aashish and balbinder.
The Injured Body at Hofstra
this is happening tomorrow!
The Injured Body: Palestine, Mizrahi Jews, and the Imperial Politics of Color
The brilliant Shirly Bahar and I will be talking about documentary film, colonialism, racism, and the body at Hofstra University on Nov 9, 4:30-5:45pm. It’s a free event but you need to register. More info below.
Join us for a conversation between Shirly Bahar and Mara Ahmed about their recent scholarly and creative work related to oppression and the body. Bahar’s recent book, “Documentary Cinema in Israel-Palestine: Performance, the Body, the Home,” and Ahmed’s upcoming film, “The Injured Body,” both explore how colonialism, marginalization, and daily mental and emotional stresses from racism and othering impact the body. The conversation will spotlight documentary language that makes embodied oppression visible in comparative and global perspectives (in the context of settler colonialism and imperialism), touching on the pain of Palestinians, Mizrahi Jews and people of color, especially women, in the United States. The idea is to shift conventional paradigms of war, conflict and segregated geographies by focusing on (and politicizing) lived experiences of pain and understanding their interrelatedness. The evening will also feature film excerpts.
This ‘Issues in Judaism’ lecture is presented by Hofstra Cultural Center and the Dept of Religion and Jewish Studies, in collab with the depts of History, Global Studies & Geography, Comparative Literature, Languages, & Linguistics, and the Women’s Studies and European Studies Programs.
Thank you to the wonderful Santiago Slabodsky for putting this event together.
Venue: Leo Guthart Cultural CenterTheater, Joan and Donald Axinn Library, First Floor, South Campus
To register go to: hofstra.edu/culture. Or call 516.463.5669. Or go to this link.
the body has memory – a short film
thrilled to share that my short film, the body has memory, has been selected for a juried exhibition at the huntington arts council here on long island.
i created what the brilliant rajesh barnabas calls a ‘video poem’ – a blend of images, dance, music, and poetry i wrote, inspired by work on ‘the injured body,’ my upcoming documentary film.
HAC’s exhibition focuses on the exploration of the human form and will run from november 18 – december 17, 2022. more soon.