Venue: Le Conservatoire National à Rayonnement Régional
9th of October – 29th of November 2020
“A Year Without the Southern Sun”
22th of February – 30th of May 2020, Berlin
12×12 IBB-Videoraum, Berlinische Galerie
5th of February – 3th of March 2020
Locarno Shorts Weeks- Locarno Festival
1th – 29th of February 2020
Spike Berlin “A Word of Warning“
19th – 22th of September 2019
KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF STIPENDIUM
5th of September – 10th of November 2019
Videoart at Midnight
Summer Special: Berlin program for artists
23th. of August 2019 at midnight
Sarajevo Film Festival
Section European Shorts
14th – 21th of August
7 July – 24 July 2019
Lia Rumma Gallery Naples
19th of June -29th of July 2019
Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg
4th.- 10th. of June
European Media Art Festival
24th. – 28th. of April 2019
FRAMES of REPRESENTATION
Institute of Contemporary Arts, ICA London
12th – 20th of May
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.