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Studio arts, Conferences & lectures

Conversations in Contemporary Art presents Kamal Aljafari

We are proud to bring filmmaker Kamal Aljafari to the stage for the second talk in the Conversations in Contemporary Art 2015-2016 winter season.

Thursday, January 28, 2016
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

No Fee


Visual Arts Building
1395 René Lévesque W.
Room 114



StudioArts_Aljafari Kamal Aljafari, “Recollection,” 2015. Image courtesy of the artist.

The films by Kamal Aljafari include The Roof (2006), Port of Memory (2009) and Recollection (2015). He was featured artist at the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in 2009 in New York, as well as Benjamin White Whitney Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Center for Film Studies, Harvard University in 2009 and 2010.  Between 2011 and 2013, he acted as the head of the film directing program at the German Film And Television Academy DFFB Berlin. In 2013 he received the art medal of the state Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

The someone-filming is returning to Jaffa, as he might to any catastrophized place. He knows some places; perhaps even some people. Perhaps everything. He is myself, my grandfather who was on his way to Beirut and returned because there was a storm; a photographer, a composite of every figure in the margins. Memory itself, filming; the memory of all the background it rescues from the screen.

“Kamal Aljafari is the chronicler of the inchronicable, visionary of the faded out.  Somewhere between the early Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí ("Un Chien Andalou") and the late Mani Kaul’s entire magnificent oeuvre, in his new film, "Recollection," Kamal Aljafari has tapped on a disquieting vision of the ruins and debris in material and memorial, pushing as he does his previous work forward by leaps and bounds.  The significance of this work is manifold, achieving two contradictory tasks in particular:  dismounting the omniscient camera and staging the relic.  By allowing the memory to stage and announce itself, an enduring philosophical task made essential as early as in Walter Benjamin’s prophetic turn to relics and ruins in his theory of allegory, Aljafari wonders: who is watching, who is watching the watcher, and by what authority:  The damning question:  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?:  is here staged with astonishing confidence and ease, with the threadbare power of a visionary artist taking the instrumentality of his own art to task.  The result is uncanny:  You feel you have been there:  but where, when, how, and now what?”   

– Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University, New York

Admission for all Conversations in Contemporary Art events is FREE and open to the general public. Seating is first come, first serve.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The lectures will be held in English.


Auteur de films tels que The Roof (2006), Port of Memory (2009) et Recollection (2015), l’artiste Kamal Aljafari a été l’invité d’honneur du Robert Flaherty Film Seminar de New York en 2009. Boursier Benjamin White Whitney et fellow du Radcliffe-Harvard Film Study Center en 2009 et 2010, il a également dirigé le programme de mise en scène de la Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB) de 2011 à 2013. Il a en outre reçu la médaille des arts de l’État brésilien du Rio Grande do Sul en 2013.

« Celui qui filme revient à Jaffa, comme il le ferait dans tout lieu de catastrophe. Il connaît certains endroits, peut-être même certaines personnes… Peut-être tout. C’est moi, c’est mon grand-père qui s’en allait à Beyrouth et a rebroussé chemin en raison d’une tempête, c’est un photographe, c’est un composé de toutes les figures en marge. C’est la mémoire même qui filme, la mémoire de tout l’arrière-plan qu’elle sauve de l’écran. »

Tous les événements du programme Conversation in Contemporary Art sont gratuits et ouverts au public. Les sièges sont assignés selon le principe du premier arrivé, premier servi. Les portes ouvrent à 17h30.

Les conférences se dérouleront en anglais.


Related links:

•    Kamal Aljafari - artist website
•    Conversations in Contemporary Art
•    Concordia University Studio Arts Department


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