CologneOFF IV – Here We Are!
4th edittion of Cologne Online Film Festival
The Rosary | Sibha as a Communal Sculpture
The short movie (TRT 5 min 8 sec) documents the making of a public art project called „The rosary / sibha (arabic for Rosary) as a communal sculpture“ which was built in a communal effort together with students, faculty and the public in March 2007 on the top of the roof of the American University in Cairo. The installation that was originated by visiting professor of AUC Richard Jochum is still on public display.
“The sculpture of the magnified rosary beads changes the scale and sector of the original. From the private meditation of an individual holding her rosary, the sculpture becomes a public one inviting communal contemplation. By moving it from the private to the public sector, the rosary becomes an object for discussion and debate. At the same time, however, the change in scale from hand-held to larger-than-life transforms the giant rosary into a subject commanding a presence within the same space of its viewers. Its uncanny resemblance to a chain recalls both the positive and negative connotations of the many types of chains in our world: from the chains that are used for prisoners to the chain that links memory itself. A chain that connects one religion to the next in the significance of prayer, could also be a chain that prevents connections to be made. Painted sky-blue and being a site-specific installation on the roof, the rosary beads seem to bring a piece of the sky down to sit on the rooftop for conversation. As both an object and subject of inquiry, the sculpture re-presents the local’s relation to the global, inviting discussions of the ways in which we are linked together and implicated, and ways that we could forge better relations.”
“Mama” is a short video [1 min 35 sec, looped] by the Austrian media artist Richard Jochum, New York 2008.
“When my father turned 60 – that’s been some years ago – I asked my siblings to produce a book for him as a gift. We entitled it “Our Father” and I wrote quite a few chapters. Being able to do so, surprised me. I was not aware of how much I could say and talk about my father; some of the texts were a bit dada, others theatrical, some more analytical and although I praised him to the skies, there was criticism, too. When my mother a few years later turned 60 I could not produce anything like that at all. The relationship that I had with her, proved to be beyond words. I could not capture it, could not verbally describe it, felt way too embedded in a relationship that was “bloody” to start with: coming out of her womb.
The video that I created goes back to this observation of a visceral relationship with my mother beyond the grip of a verbal structure and language. I never was able to produce this somewhat very personal piece of video until an open call for submission intrigued me to set the idea into tape. The short movie is made to be looped, because addressing a mother and calling out for her will always escort us and keep being an indelible impulse.”