Monitor 9: New South Asian Short Film & Video is an annual program by SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) that screens short films and videos by artists from Canada and internationally. Programmed by Nahed Mansour, Monitor 9 showcases 11 independent, poignant films and video that explore bodies in flow. In spite of displacement and mobility, artists involved find common ground in shared histories of colonial rule, trauma and loss. By channeling their stories of dynamic struggle, they seek to reimagine their new geopolitical arenas by articulating personal stories of resistance and survival.
Navigating through landscapes of loss, So-Jin Chunís Treasure Hill Camouflage sees her performing her identity through assimilation into the surrounding Treasure Hill, a heritage site in Taipei that used to be an illegal settlement for ex-military men prior to gentrification. Site specificity is also relevant to Ashim Halder Sagorís Desire, where he engages in an act of endurance: submerging and surfacing from water repeatedly in an attempt to trigger memories latent in the site.
In spite of prevalent mobility and migration, essentializing racial and sexual taxonomies still exist. Through the lens of queer artists like Elisha Lim and Nguyen Tan Hoang, such reductive and presumptuous classifications can begin to be deconstructed. Hoangís look_im_azn exposes the careless racialization in online cruising sites where profiles feature amusing screen names and headless pictures of bare torsos, a meat market of sorts where Asian identity is exoticized. Limís Coming Out examines the naturalized opposition between religion and homosexuality by making religious queers visible through an intersection of portrait and prayer. By juxtaposing the two seemingly antagonistic elements, Lim alludes to the existence of a silenced community, presiding in a marginalized ideological intersection.
Buy This (v3), by Kooj Chuhan also examines the futility of disparate social structures by showing how closely related environmental crises is to the economic and political forces bringing about human displacement and racial inequality. Through a confluence of various socio-political spheres, previously thought to be incompatible and unassociated, the artist evinces the necessity to transgress predetermined social structures in order to remediate global catastrophes.
The notion of global flows is used by Mansour to reveal how these artists negotiate within constantly shifting arenas of media, technology, land, the environment, race and gender identity.
Monitor 9 features works by Jude Anogwih (Nigeria), Kuljit Choohan (UK), soJin Chun (Canada), Ashim Haldar Sagor (Bangladesh), Taiki Sakpisit (Thailand), Smriti Mehra & Matt Lee (India), Nguyen Tan Hoang (USA), Elisha Lim (Canada), Shreyasi Kar (India), Ahmed Faisan Naveed (Pakistan) and Pavitra Wickramasinghe (Canada).
The film screening will be followed by a discussion with panelists, including Sharlene Bamboat from SAVAC.