This single channel work is the result of a collaboration between artists Nahed Mansour and Kandis Friesen, based on the original footage from an unrealized documentary Friesen found at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Funded by an unnamed Russian Mennonite man who had immigrated to Canada, the footage was shot with a hired crew in the 1980s in his childhood village in southern Ukraine, the dialogue an untranslated mix of Russian, German, and Mennonite Plaut’dietsch (Low German).
Drawn to experimental narratives that speak to collective memory and recollection, Friesen asked artists, friends, and family members to select and respond to a portion of the VHS tape, regardless of their knowledge of the time, location, or language spoken. This video is one result of this collaborative endeavour, fusing the original untranslated footage with Mansour’s imagined subtitled dialogue between three villagers and the documentary ‘crew’. Examining found footage as a kind of abstract architecture of remembering, the work accesses personal and collective memory, challenging notions of authenticity, authorship, and veracity so intertwined with conventional documentary-making.
Athens Video Art Festival
again + again
Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts
Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
*Winner of the Steamwhistle Homebrew Award for Best Local Talent