Monday — 05.14.01 – Reading Group — Screening of Introduction to the End of an Argument

Comments Off on Monday — 05.14.01 – Reading Group — Screening of Introduction to the End of an Argument

Monday — 05.14.01 – Reading Group — Screening of Introduction to the End of an Argument

1. About This Monday
2. About Introduction to the End of an Argument
3. Interview with Jayce Salloum
4. More info on Salloum

1. About This Monday

Film Screening & Discussion: Introduction to the End of an Argument

May 14, 2001, 8pm @ 16 Beaver Street, 5th Floor

This Monday, as part of a series of film screenings & discussions that are taking place
at 16 Beaver and other TBA locations, there will be a presention of Introduction to the
End of an Argument (dir. by Jayce Salloum & Elia Suleiman).

The series of films will center around the questions of Palestine and different
representations of the situation ranging from fictional tales to documentaries.
Each screening will be followed by a discussion with an invited discussant.

2. About Introduction to the End of an Argument

a. Brief Summary:
::::::::::::::Introduction to the End of an Argument
::::::::::::::Combining news soundbytes, movie clips and documentary footage
::::::::::::::shot in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the filmmakers critique
::::::::::::::Western-based representations of Arab culture. The artists cleverly
::::::::::::::mimic the Western media tableau in an exhilarating mix of fragmented
::::::::::::::stereotypes from mainstream movies to prime-time news. A film by
::::::::::::::Elia Suleiman and Jayce Salloum. 1990. 41 min.

b. Combining “found artifacts” from Europe, the United States and Israel — news sound bites, movie clips, cartoons, pop songs and documentary footage shot in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — End of An Argument critiques Western-based representations of Arab culture. The video artists cleverly mimic the Western tableau in a mix of fragmented stereotypes that illustrate how we impose our own narratives on the Middle East in fiction and nonfiction alike. Underlines well how this stream of simplistic materials merges into a blurry but insidious ethnocentric consensus that Arabs are somehow less worthy and civilized than “us,” whomever “us” may be. [AGF] Directed by Elia Sulieman and Jayce Salloum.

c. Speaking For Oneself… Speaking For Others: Introduction To The End Of
An Argument (Intifada) Jayce Salloum & Elia Suleiman 1990, 45’00”
Speaking For Oneself is made by the Lebanese-Canadian video artist Jayce Salloum and the Palestinian film-maker Elia
Suleiman. It deals with the distorted picture we have of Arab culture in general and of the Intifada – the Palestinian
resistance in Israel’s occupied territories – in particular. Salloum and Suleiman have combined and confronted fragments
of image and text taken from Hollywood, European and Israeli films, documentaries and news items with material which
they have personally recorded on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. What is revealed is far from reassuring: for years
we have been bombarded with a vision of the Palestinian – Israeli conflict that is riddled with racist and ideological
prejudice. Instead of listening to the people involved, we have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by the insidious
images and news items propagated by our own, prejudiced and superficial media. The recent recognition of the PLO by
Israel and the subsequent negotiations make Speaking For Oneself seem all the more relevant and topical. Salloum and
Suleiman have compiled an incisive argument for the need to think and look beyond our media.

“Suleiman and Salloum are skilled image makers, and their relentless send-ups of stereotype, racism and cultural ignorance are very entertaining and absorbing; they manage to cover just about every demented permutation of the problem” -Tony Reveaux, ARTWEEK

“..a confident and scathingly ironic commentary on the uses and power of imagery…” -Ammiel Alcalay,AFTERIMAGE

3. Interview with Jayce Salloum
Thu, 26 Oct 2000

Interview with Jayce Salloum, video artist, curator, repeat visitor
to Beirut.

Jayce has produced numerous documentaries on Lebanon and is widely read
and knowledgeable of the history and cultures there.

How wired is Beirut?

Beirut seems very wired, when I was there 7 years ago, you could find fax
machines at corner stores selling time by the minute, depending on the day,
they were sometimes covered in blankets for fear of censorship/regulation by
the government of the day. Now there are internet server resellers on most
every commercial street and several basic providers, I hear that cable net
service is even coming soon but that should not be surprising as the
Beirutiis are usually on the edge of new technology and fashion. The other
large change is that everyone has cell (mobile) phones and uses them
constantly for updates on the political situation, altering of social plans
due to threats of Israeli strikes, or for just planning spontaneous get
togethers, a pretty ‘wired’ (or satelite-ed) society in the city. Pretty
impressive considering cell phone use costs are very high, even more than in

What is the independent mediascape like?

The independent video scene is booming, there are many interesting producers
now, some are recent graduates of western schools who are teaching or just
making their works, there are about 250 video students at the local colleges,
and a constant influx of media artists and visual artist visitors and an
emergent independent curatorial scene makes for a constant humm of activity.
I didn’t notice other new media works (net/computer art etc) but I also
didn’t investigate that fully, there is a lot of new music work and CDs being
released. The alternative videos get shown in some of the best theatres in
town, I was in some beautiful cinemas watching the most radical personal
video work that would never make into like theatres here, an interesting
presence where video has also replaced most film, there still is schlocky
movies around all over but there is a place for independent work that is much
larger than I’ve seen in most (maybe all) western cities.

How active and involved are people with media now in
this deplorable situation?

People rely on the radio a lot for news and the television, the
(tv/radio/press) media there is a lot broader than is readily available in
America, not as broad as in the early nineties because of recent regulations
starting to be enforced but almost every spectrum of the local and
international political scene is represented. From Hizbuallah TV which is
amazingly savvy in it’s propganda ‘ads’ of the resistance and their dynamic
huge billboards protesting recent massacres in Palestine and the operations
of Hizbullah in the South of Lebanon and the Israeli outposts and their
histories.. to the very pro-Israeli CNN.

Is there any censorship?

Yes, there is censorship, several artworks have been censored of late that I
heard about, and there is some censorship in the media the details which I
can’t really answer right now but is it something I’d like to investigate

Is there any exchange between leftists Israeli’s and Palestinian

Yes there is, or at least there was a fair bit before the recent Intifada.

What about the presence of western european and american journalists?

The European journalists used to be very well represented now
most report out of Jerusalem behind the Israeli army lines as you can see
during the protests.

What is the mood in Beirut?

Varies, depending on who, a lot of Lebs are worried,
a lot of Palestinians are energized and optimistic for the first time in

How are people organizing themselves?

Many demonstrations in support of the Palestinians by Palestinians and
Lebanese alike, students, leftists, artists, activists etc. The resistance is
very well organized in the south now..

Are there artists doing anything creative to support the resistance
from there?

Not that I know of, but just making contemporary art there is a form of
resistance in itself to the traditional underlying culture, a lot of the
artwork is political and critical, and there is a lot of work going on, and a
lot to be done.

Thanks Jayce. (I’d like to visit.)

4. More info on Salloum

Jayce Salloum is a Lebanese – Canadian living in Vancouver.
He was born 1958 in Kelowna, Canada now living in Vancouver, B.C.
He was a participant in the 1988- 1990 Independent Study, Whitney
Museum of Art and also the P.S. 1 Studio Program. (1990).


Description of Jayce from a (not so) recent project curated by MayDay Productions…
Jayce Salloum

Jayce Salloum is an artist who has spent the last 15 years in the continual process of
documenting, amassing and filtering visual culture derived out of transitory spaces, or territories in
the process of ‘between-ness’ – be it local urban spaces undergoing gentrification (New York’s
East Village), geo-politically carved areas (South Lebanon), or palimpsests of historically charged
regions (former Yugoslavia). Manifested through street photography, appropriated imagery, video,
film, installations and curatorial and academic pursuits, Salloum orbits around specific points of
contention where the constructed urban or suburban environment regurgitates social and political
discourses – that usually go undetected in our daily frames of references.

For Agit Prop, Jayce Salloum will take residence as a visitor, bringing with him collected items for
installation, and inviting the public to add to this collection. Conversations and interviews with
visitors will be video taped and edited into an ongoing body of work which consists of footage,
notes/observations and other material from ex/current Yugoslavia, and the Middle East that
contributes to his study of borders, refuge and the conditions of living/moving trans-culturally.

The public is encouraged to bring things to the gallery before May 17th and while Salloum is there,
to build the installation; objects, writings, notes,pictures, anything that speaks to the current and
past dilemnas, especially concerning race, identity, cultural politics, immigration/migration, refuge,
home/heimat, nationalism[s], and borders.