“Big ears listen with feet to the world as a jewel in the hand: it is night in America.” This sentence sounds like an exquisite corpse (cadavre exquis), but it consists, in fact, of the three film titles of this week that were all made last year.
Big Ears Listen with Feet was made by directing duo Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, whose films focus on the relationship between people and their surrounding architecture. In Bankok they followed Boonserm Premthada, who, deaf from birth, developed an architecture of the senses where sound vibrations become the voice of space. An architectural intervention closes space off to create intimacy and gives a tonality to all the emptiness it encompasses. If architecture is the organization of emptiness, then urbanism can be seen as a structuration of territory.
“Are animals invading our cities, or are we occupying their habitats?”, an animal caretaker sighs in It Is Night in America. Ana Vaz filmed in the Brasília Zoo, where stray wild animals are being taken care of. Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector once wrote: “Brasília is constructed on the line of the horizon. Brasília is artificial. As artificial as the world must have been when it was created. Brasília badly needs roaming white horses. At night they would be green in the moonlight.”
The World Like a Jewel in the Hand is an essay-film in which Arielle Aïsha Azoulay proposes a project of ‘unlearning imperial plunder’. As an Algerian Jew, she uses the camera to resist the extinction process of her culture and identity by the looting of objects that are still ‘held captive’ in museums and archives. By showing pictures, talking and singing, Azoulay and her collaborator, Nadia Ammour, propose a new form of historiography.