Wednesday, August 30, 2017

UK/Denmark: Barbican accused of showing antisemitic film in science fiction season

Via Guardian:
The head of the UK’s main Jewish organisation has accused London’s Barbican arts centre of showing an antisemitic film, which she claims is “blatant propaganda about the Israel-Palestine conflict” masquerading as science fiction.

Gillian Merron, the chief executive of the Board of Deputies, an umbrella organisation representing British Jews, called on the London arts centre to remove the film In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain from the exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction.

The film by a Palestinian artist, Larissa Sansour, and a Danish author, Søren Lind, which combines live action, computer-generated imagery and historical photographs, is described in the exhibition as telling “the story of a fictional ‘narrative resistance’ group which attempts to implant the existence of a fictional civilisation in history by burying fragments of pottery in the ground”.

In a letter to Sandeep Dwesar, the chief operating and financial officer of the Barbican, Merron wrote: “While the Barbican synopsis casts the film as a sci-fi feature about fictitious technologically advanced aliens who land in an area to implant a ‘false history’, I understand that the film is clearly filmed in Israel and that the dialogue is in Arabic and purports to show the ‘aliens’ seeding the land with porcelain in an effort to create the ‘false’ impression that they have a historical connection to it.
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Requesting its removal from the exhibition, Merron said: “It is therefore not much of a stretch to suggest that the film is a means by which to deny the historical Jewish connection to Israel and an exercise in delegitimisation. Accusing Jews of falsifying our connection to Israel smacks of antisemitism and is of grave concern.”

In reply, Dwesar said: “The short film has been programmed for its poetical vision before anything else. ... Having spoken to the curator and the artists, the intention is that the symbolic visual language in the film speaks of history and tradition, yet it cannot necessarily be placed in any distinct or quantifiable time period.”

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