Artraker Conversations – 2 – Ian D. Quick

Interview

Margaux Portron, Research and Communications Associate, Artraker.

Ian D. Quick learnt about Artraker through INCAS consulting, which is one of our partners. Ian himself works for ECAS,  covering Europe and the Middle East/North Africa region for the INCAS Group. Ian was previously interested in how the creative community tried to fill the gaps that had been left by official institutions. His interests in less structured, less formal entities working in Sri Lanka coincided with our exhibition Art of Peace travelling to Colombo as part of a week of events.

Tell Spring Not to Come This Year, a documentary by Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy

Short read

Margaux Portron, Research and Communications Associate, Artraker.

tellspring

I have been lucky enough to watch two documentaries by Saeed Taji Farouky. The first one, co-directed with Michael McEvoy, is a year in the life of the Afghan army. I must say it is so striking I have already watched it twice. The other one is about Salah Hmatou Ameidan, an athlete who uses his running as activism – but more on that in another post.

Tell Spring Not to Come This Year (2015) focuses on two men within a unit in one of the most violent parts of Afghanistan. One is a captain, the other a private, but either way I had never heard of the Afghan army – this time this is all about them. You only see the American helicopters leaving, but that’s about it. The characters tell about the reasons they enrolled in the army, the relations they have with the Afghan people, torn apart between military and Taliban violence. They also develop their feelings about the US army’s behaviour and departure.

I felt close to these people because of the voice-overs and the utter absurdity of some situations – such as when the police abandon their post with all the weapons, later picked-up by the talibans. At the same time I realised how little I knew about Afghanistan, for instance the beautiful countryside – rendered by an equally beautiful photography – the diversity of languages, etc.

This film challenges all the representations of the Afghan war but by extension of most conflicts led by Western countries, which only depict one side. But this is the Afghan soldiers’ country, their people, their government, and their existence.

 


 

Tell Spring Not to Come This year

Tell Spring will be shown at Cambridge Film Festival on 6th and 7th of November: http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk/themes/cambridge_film_festival/files/brochure-2015.pdf

http://www.touristwithatypewriter.com/spring/spring_synopsis.htm | https://www.facebook.com/tellspring?fref=ts | Twitter @tellspring

 

Not a bug splat: artists vs drones

Short read

Margaux Portron, Research and Communications Associate, Artraker.

 

For a decade, war has been partly carried out at a distance, through an all-seeing eye. Drone operators see targets, but not faces. Part of the dehumanisation process consists in calling victims “bugsplats” after the strike, as Jennifer Robinson states here.

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, NV - AUGUST 08:  A pilot's heads up display in a ground control station shows a truck from the view of a camera on an MQ-9 Reaper during a training mission August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force's first "hunter-killer" unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and is designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly for as long as 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can fly twice as fast and high as the smaller MQ-1 Predators reaching speeds of 300 mph at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft are flown by a pilot and a sensor operator from ground control stations. The Reapers are expected to be used in combat operations by the United States military in Afghanistan and Iraq within the next year.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, NV – AUGUST 08: A pilot’s heads up display in a ground control station shows a truck from the view of a camera on an MQ-9 Reaper during a training mission August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force’s first “hunter-killer” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and is designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly for as long as 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can fly twice as fast and high as the smaller MQ-1 Predators reaching speeds of 300 mph at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft are flown by a pilot and a sensor operator from ground control stations. The Reapers are expected to be used in combat operations by the United States military in Afghanistan and Iraq within the next year. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)