Shana Moulton and Monira Al Qadiri, screenings and artist talk with Monira Al Qadiri

February 21, 2016

Shana Moulton—Swisspering

2013, 9 mins

—MindPlace ThoughtStream

2014, 12 mins

B. 1976, Oakhurst, CA. Lives and works in New York and California

Shana Moulton has been embodying her alter ego Cynthia in videos and performances for over a decade, often extending the video settings into installations. Cynthia’s desperate longing for spiritual freedom takes shape as a restless quest for new products and lifestyles in which the interplay of New Age, digital, and consumer culture is continually intensified. Video tricks and life-coaching drive each other into kitschy absurdities of everyday North American life.

In MindPlace ThoughtStream, Cynthia tries to get rid of her pain and find inner and outer beauty with the help of a magic biofeedback device—a blend of yoga, the Internet of Things, and untouched nature. In Swisspering, she is concerned with optimizing her life through creativity and attempts to beautify her home and her body.

Monira Al Qadiri—Wa Waila (Oh Torment)

2008, 10 mins

—Abu Athiyya (Father of Pain)

2013, 6 mins 30 secs

B. 1983, Dakar, Senegal. Lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon and Amsterdam, Netherlands

In Monira Al Qadiri’s series devoted to an investigation of poetic imagery in traditional songs of lamentation from the Middle East, the artist stages herself as a male singer full of longing and in a state of joyful suffering in music videos. Pursuing the absurdity of both the projected orientalistic fantasies from the West and the visual vocabulary of these songs to an extreme, the videos rearticulate a specific aesthetic of sadness. Wa Waila (Oh Torment) is based on an old Kuwaiti folk song dealing with pain due to loss of love, displacement, and death. Abu Athiyya (Father of Pain) draws upon a Mawwal (lamentation) song from an Iraqi saga performed by the famous southern Iraqi singer Yas Khodhor. Al Qadiri enacts it as a ghost story.