ASPECT – Volume 14: Middle East

ASPECT Volume 14: Middle East

dvd, VOL 14, FALL 2009, U.S.A., English
This is the usual excellent selection by Aspect (a bi-annual video-magazine on dvd) on a topic tough to explore: the Middle East. The format is usual: a collection of videos in a double version: the original work and one commented on by a renowned critic. Carefully avoiding stereotypes, focusing just on the hottest areas, and mostly including famous artists (since most of them live in Europe and US) the works included render an outstanding and accomplished perspective. Moreover each work is not simply commenting on a symbolic situation of an extremely complex area, but they are most of the time breaking into it and then unrolling its paradoxical “normality”. The diversity is also reflected in the different media used (video, installation, computer animation), mostly exploiting ductile digital tools. The commentaries are an integral part, as in previous Aspect issues, but in this case they are even more so. In fact, contextualizing the singular works in their social and political environment is indispensable to fully understand and enjoy them. Violence, as is often the case in works from the Middle East, is present but rarely visible or sublimated in various forms. So the relationship between emergence and normality, violence and apparent peace is always present. And the feeling after experiencing all the works is not of anger or resignation but of a new informed awareness of different artist, skillfully using media to foster their personal vision and share their mediated tension.