interviewed by Samar Martha, January 2007


She is troubled by any image of herself, suffers when she is mentioned. She finds the perfection of a human relationship in this vacancy of the image: to abolish, in oneself, between oneself and others, all attributes.


She lives on 145 North 7th Street Apartment 3, Brooklyn, NY 11211.
In a way, she could imagine herself living in Mexico City, Sao Paolo, Bombay or possibly Beirut, Cairo or Teheran.

Background ~ A memory of childhood

When I was a child, we lived in a Street called Star Street Shari'Al-Nijmeh. My childhood was a prolonged waiting: a yearning for the wise men from the east to arrive. Hoping that one day on the streets of Jerusalem someone would ask 'where is she that is born?'
Alas, the men from the east lost their way. The child was born, but no one was there to celebrate.


Indeed I could have been born in Alexandria, Saida, Tripoli, Aleppo, Mosul, Madaba, Medina, Manama, Doha, Sharja, Muscat, Aden, Djibouti, Mogadishu, Juba, Benghazi, Tunis, Oran, Tetouan, Nouakchott et cetera(...)

Et cetera gives the impression of obvious. Is it so. It is about the inclusion of an excluded that is not named. It is often the left over, the rest and the unspoken. It presumes the acknowledgement that one understands what the other wanted to say but did not say it. But do we really understand?


Art creates and gives form. It affirms life. 'Life' is not meant in the narrow sense of human life but is identified with 'world' in a wider sense. Art, thought in the broadest sense as the creative, constitutes the basic character of everything being.

Piece ~ peace

Poetic mistakes: where ~ were, sweet ~ sweat, meet ~ meat, whether ~ weather, maid ~ made, read ~ red, bred ~ bread, sew ~ sow, loose ~ lose.
Can you think of more?

Idea ~ excerpt first letter

From: Ayreen Anastas
Sent: Dec 2, 2003 4:22 PM
To: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Subject: Sopraluoghi in Palestina per il film "Vangelo Secondo Matteo"

Dear Pier Paolo,

I am writing to ask your permission to repeat your seeking in Palestine film 40 years ago in the film: Sopraluoghi in Palestina per il film 'Vangelo Secondo Matteo'.*

In this repetition, I would like to find in that landscape what you have not found in your film. Your refusal of the Palestinian landscape makes me sad: a refusal that is a negation and affirmation at the same time: it is a negation because you did not execute 'The Gospel According to Matthew' in Palestine, and an affirmation in the sense of the necessity of a repetition of this venture, trip, seeking etc... only in that gap of not finding the location in Palestine in your film 40 years ago, I can start seeking them in the new film today.

So it is not a real sadness if I say: I am sad that you did not decide for this landscape and for locations there. It is rather a symbolic sadness, that will help me find an unnamable (an unknown that actually motivates the project) in that landscape I grew up in. It is a sadness of love, a double love, for you as a director and for this landscape.

* Seeking Locations in Palestine for 'The Gospel According to Matthew'

Pasolini ~ a Cinema of Poetry

The work of the writer consists of taking words from this dictionary, where they are kept as if in a shrine, in order to use them in a specific manner: specific in respect to the historical moment of the word and of the writer. The result of this process is to increase the historical value of the word, that is, to increase the meaning of the word.

If that writer should amount to something, in future dictionaries her "specific use of the word" will be cited as an additional meaning of the institutionalized word.

For the filmmaker, however, the action, although fundamentally similar, is much more complicated. There is no dictionary of images. There is no pigeonholed image, ready to be used. If by any chance we wanted to imagine a dictionary of images, we would have to imagine an infinite dictionary, as infinite as the dictionary of possible words.

The filmmaker does not have a dictionary; she has infinite possibilities. She does not take her signs (im-signs**) from a shrine, a protective sheath, or from some baggage, but from chaos, where they are nothing more than possibilities or shadows of a mechanical, oneiric communication.

**An im-sign or image-sign, is the film equivalent of a lin-sign or language-sign.

Screenplay ~ a ' Structure That Wants To Be Another Structure'

The concrete element in the relationship between film and literature is the screenplay. (...)

In this note, what interests me about the screenplay is the moment is which it can be considered as autonomous 'technique', a work complete and finished in itself.

(...) But in so doing, one would perform an erroneous and arbitrary critical operation. If there isn't the continuous allusion to a developing cinematographic work, it is no longer a technique, and its appearance as a screenplay is purely a pretext (a situation which has yet to occur).

Work ~ in general

Her work is currently on view at 'Art in General', not an overall view, as the words general and view might suggest, such a thing is the illusion of many institutions: to place an artist in a frame of a total perspective. Thus an artist's retrospective is not the same as an artist's introspective: the latter is harder to organize, put together or curate. Our exhibition at 'Art in General' is also an inhibition. The inhibition in this case is a result of the question we asked ourselves before we ventured on that journey.

Attracts you to art ~ academic exercise

1. Who is the artist in question?
2. Why does the artist put certain words or expressions in italic?
3. Meanings of the words "perspective", "introspective", "retrospective", "exhibition", "inhibition".
4. Which "journey" is the artist talking about and who is the "we" in question?
5. What exactly is the question that they asked themselves?

Future plans

" I am of today and before," he said then, "but there is something in me that is of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and time to come. I have grown weary of the artists, the old and the new: superficial they all seem to me, and shallow seas. Their thoughts have not penetrated deeply enough; therefore their feelings did not touch bottom.

"Alas, I cast my net into their seas and wanted to catch good fish; but I always pulled up the head of some old god. Thus the sea gave him who was hungry a stone. And they themselves, they may well have come from the sea. Certainly pearls are found in them: they are that much more similar to hard shell fish. And instead of a soul found salted slime in them."