Cette maison, 2022, Miryam Charles

Despite: Breathing. Constellating. Gathering

March 7 and 8, 2024

A program curated by Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński in dialogue with her exhibition Respire (Liverpool) at Phileas – The Austrian Office for Contemporary Art, on view from January 31 to April 20, 2024.
Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński: "Landscapes: often deserted, vast, and expansive, seemingly solitary figures wandering around, voices from a distance, the quiet sound of chimes. Landscape serves as a means to explore relationships between living beings, time, and space. And it is often an overlooked mechanism, the small movement of inhaling and exhaling, that underlies the discernible movements, the wandering. The film program Despite: Breathing, Constellating, Gathering traces movements of air and breath in the works of contemporary filmmakers from the African diaspora, addressing the wastelands created by slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, which nevertheless provide fertile ground for the radical examination of Black life. Just as air and breath connect the past, present, and future, they also connect people across space and time. The challenge, as the films show, is to consider both the precariousness of Black breath and its potential, as well as its lessons.
In her meditation on Kazeem-Kamiński's Respire (Liverpool) (2023), curator and author Valentine Umansky provides us with three terms – aspire, expire, and conspire – which could also serve as guiding points for this program of films. The combination of these terms, all stemming from the Latin word spiritus, emphasizes film's potential to bring us closer to breath. Furthermore, they highlight the desire to connect with others and conspire, united against that which constantly restricts the filling of the lungs and, ultimately, the possibility to live freely."
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