Exodus Pathology.Mid-length Experimental documentary.Archival.2020
Exodus Pathology, My latest in-progress work, is an experimental documentary comprised of digitally distorted personal footage shot in the three years since I arrived in the United States: geographical disorientation, fragmented relationships, marriage, queerness, language stutters and the process of switching from a mother tongue to a stepmother tongue. The project knits together reenactments, visual diaries, imaginary cartography, Skype conversations, nostalgia, and more to depict the alienation that the displaced experience.
By investigating the relationship between utopia and national boundaries, I aim to inquire how we can re-imagine the idea of borders, with an emphasis on intimacy, longing and pain.
Starting from the moment of my arrival at O’Hare International Airport following a seventeen-hour flight, the film begins with my quest to grow roots in unfamiliar soil. I tour numerous apartments. As I attempt to stay connected to my family and homeland I turn WhatsApp and Skype into central fixtures of my life. I strive to switch from a mother tongue to a stepmother tongue, visible in my stutters in both languages. Being from a highly patriarchal country stirred with tradition and religion, I seek to rediscover a body I’d long been mandated to cover. This struggle is reflected through my conversations with my mother on the phone, which often manifest glitches of unreliable internet connections. The visual failures of imperfect technologies and poor internet connections fabricate new, uncanny memories of intimately known faces. When loneliness dawns, I immerse myself in online dating and fragmented relationships far from a country where the spectre of the law haunts queerness.
Throughout the piece I create a borderless 3D utopian map in Unity/Maya software, uniting alphabets through coding and offering access to people of any background. In the process, I discover my dream city, in the middle of a technologic nowhere, with no segregation, correctional facilities, or fixed borders.
The film narrative is non-linear and polyphonic.
I vividly remember how, as a child, I was drawn more to film negatives rather than to developed photographs, spending hours in dark rooms trying to pick out every little detail. Film negativity distorts reality but not homogeneously. The frictions and glitches of visually uncanny experience generate a sense of an alternative reality, or perhaps hyperreality, where the displaced lives.
In this film, I aspire to illuminate the network of ongoing pain Middle Easterners are enmeshed in, whether they are in their country of origin or elsewhere.