Every word was once an animal
HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, Graz
25th of June – 28th of September 2022
Dittrich & Schlechtriemen, Berlin
29th of April – 25th of June, 2022
Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
30th of March – 25th of May 2022
5th of March – 15th of May 2022
Every word was once an animal
14th of January – 10th of April 2022
Graduale 21: Imagine Something New, Like Justice
Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin
16th – 25th of September 2021
10th – 13th of September 2021
A House of Many Parts
6th of December 2020
1st of October – 31st of December 2020
Manifesta 13 Marseille
Le Conservatoire National à Rayonnement Régional
9th of October – 29th of November 2020
A Year Without the Southern Sun
XC.HuA Gallery, Berlin
22nd of February – 30th of May 2020
Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
5th of February – 3rd of March 2020
Locarno Film Festival
Locarno Shorts Weeks
1st – 29th of February 2020
A Word of Warning
19th – 22nd of September 2019
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff Stipendium
5th of September – 10th of November 2019
Videoart at Midnight
Summer Special: Berlin program for artists
23rd of August 2019
Sarajevo Film Festival
Section European Shorts
14th – 21th of August 2019
7th – 24th of July 2019
A Fire On The Moon
Lia Rumma Gallery, Naples
19th of June – 29th of July 2019
35. Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg
4th – 10th of June 2019
European Media Art Festival No. 32, Osnabrück
24th of April – 30th of June 2019
FRAMES of REPRESENTATION
Institute of Contemporary Arts, ICA London
12th – 20th of May 2019
71st Locarno Film Festival
1st – 11th of August 2018
56th New York Film Festival
28th of September – 14th of October 2018
54th Chicago International Film Festival
10th – 21st of October 2018
Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur
6th – 11th of November 2018
Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente de La Plata
4th – 11th of August 2018
Kasseler Dokumentar- und Videofest
13th – 18th of November 2018
29th of Novmeber – 2nd December 2018
Finalists of the Karl Schmidt-Rottlu
2nd of June 2018
Mess With Your Values
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n.b.k.
3rd of March – 29th of April 2018
Galerie La Box – ENSA Bourges
15th of January – 21st of April 2018
Transposition / Aktarım
Sinopale International Sinop Biennial
1st of August – 17th of September 2017
An activity shaped by the physical relation between human and animal, the classical dressage of horses as portrayed in Yalda Afsah’s short film Centaur reveals an ambivalence between care and control, physical strength and broken will. Paired with recurring shots of historical paintings adorning the riding hall, Afsah’s intimate observations – abstractions of fur and flexing muscles in conjunction with a rhythmic layer of sound – evoke a sense of artificiality eerily similar to the aesthetic discipline of dressage itself, which seems to raise the controversial question whose nature is cultivated by whom.
Named after its setting, the French river Vidourle, Yalda Afsah’s film documents a strange and subtly unnerving choreography, capturing a group of young men performing what could be a ritual, a spectacle, a game, or a fight. In their collective movements as well as individual moments of concentration, anticipation and occasional forlornness, the adrenalin-fuelled adolescent protagonists seem to embody the frailty of the human condition awaiting an environmental change, much like an unexpectedly forceful current in a river.
The short movie Tourneur documents a bull fight in Southern France and subtly comments on the disparity between the young, adrenaline rushed participants and the physically superior animal, cornered by the adolescent men. The unpredictability of the situation is increased by foam flooding into the makeshift arena, which equally affects the participants’ and the audience’s view. In the opaque foam mass, the encounter between human and animal turns into a surreal and archaic performative act – as if it has slipped away from reality, it becomes its own abstraction.
Farahnaz is 13 years old and was raised as a “Bacha Posh” in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. According to this cultural practice, kids considered as girls are dressed as boys from their birth or a young age, and raised in this social “function”. Farahnaz consciously lives with the freedoms and duties of a boy in a society dominated by patriarchal traditions – from playing football to doing the groceries for the sister who is a single parent. The documentary film BOY tells Farahnaz’ story and parallely follows a 24-year-old Afghan in London who looks back on her childhood, similarly determined by this tradition.
A film by Yalda Afsah and Ginan Seidl
The two-channel installation Bacha Posh is a multifaceted documentary focusing on the Afghan tradition of dressing girls as boys in order for them to be able to fulfil the function of a male family member. Framed by atmospheric shots of urban landscapes in Mazar-e-Sharif, Bacha Posh follows the life of 13-year-old Farahnaz, adding unexpected perspectives to the discourse around the social construction of gender. Presented on two screens, the work contrasts the private and the public, interior and exterior spheres.
In collaboration with Ginan Seidl
A temporary object in a public space. A building in Istanbul, provisionally covered with plastic tarp during construction works. The viewer’s gaze is directed by the movement of the wind occasionally lifting the plastic veil. In Yalda Afsah’s short film Kabatas, the framing becomes both a formal aesthetic element and a narrative strategy, as the fluid facade is shot without giving any sense of dimension or proportion. As in her other works from this series (Kabatas / Fillmore / Atlanten, 2012-13), fleeting insights into the inner workings of the building superimpose spaces of the private and the public, of intimacy and spectacle, of reality and fiction.
Shot in San Francisco, Fillmore is a continuation of Yalda Afsah’s close observations of urban spaces. Covered by a white “canvas”, the portrayed building merges into the flat plane of the background, as electricity cables and traffic systems transform the foreground into a landscape of abstract lines. The sequence of images starts off with a close-up of the covered building, eventually transitioning into a long shot to establish the spatial relationship. Part of a series of three works (Kabatas / Fillmore / Atlanten, 2012-13), the short film offers only but glimpses into the pulsating interior of the clearly framed cityscape it observes.
Two parts of a viaduct breach out of a corner building otherwise entirely concealed by scaffoldings and white plastic sheeting. Left uncovered, the two arches reveal their contrasting architectural styles, breaking the pattern of the scaffolded facade’s abstract geometry. Set in Berlin, the scene is introduced with a pan shot. Afsah’s use of montage brings about a comparison between the old and the new, introducing an almost theatrical stage between past and present. Slowly closing in on detail, Atlanten performs a careful deconstruction of an urban landscape, much like Afsah’s other works from this series of short films (Kabatas / Fillmore / Atlanten, 2012-13) do.
Yalda Afsah explores how space can be cinematically constructed and the documentary character of her works often veers towards forms of theatricality. This formal characteristic of Afsah’s practice is conceptually mirrored in her documentary portraits of human-animal relationships that reveal an ambivalence between care and control, physical strength and broken will, instinct and manipulation. Afsah seeks to question and to dissolve these dichotomies, while carving out a space to reflect on the possibility of an overarching empathy between species.