Basma Alsharif: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2014 | 00:42:52 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Interviews, On Art and Artists, Single Titles

Tags: Film or Videomaking, Language, Middle East, Migration, VDB Interviews

In this interview, Basma Alsharif (b.1983) examines the multiple ways in which her work engages with the notion of nomadism. Beginning with a discussion of how she initially came to video through photography, Alsharif describes how this transformation of her practice required a translation of artistic sensibilities. The artist feels this displacement between media gave her the tools to critically engage with the displacement she felt as a Palestinian-American. In her work Alsharif manifests this idea by experimenting with different modes of communication and by using a variety of technical manipulations to complicate the seamlessness of video’s temporal narrative.

It is this destabilization of narrative that Alsharif seeks to employ in her pursuit of “a visceral experience of information.” Alsharif is interested in the fictions of information and its modes of distribution. In her work, language is used to simultaneously reveal and withhold information for the viewer. By pushing language to the limit, Alsharif demonstrates the ways in which words can distance us from understanding. This transitory meaning comes to operate as a “conceptual nomadism” that the artist likens to the physical and psychic nomadism of the Palestinian immigrant experience.

— Kyle Riley

Interview conducted by Tom Colley in April 2014.


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