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Jananne Al-Ani
Al-Ani calls on the same collaborators in a number of video installations, including She Said (2000) and A Loving Man (1996-1999).

In these works the women not only face their audience-they surround it. Both pieces were made to be shown on five monitors embedded in the wall of a darkened, circular chamber. And in both cases, the five women are playing a game-"Chinese Whispers" in She Said and a memory game involving the repetition and elaboration of a basic refrain in A Loving Man. The result in both pieces is an eerie theatricality, the figures looming out of the darkness as they play while the viewer, who is both in the circle and out of the loop, slowly swivels around to follow their moves.

In She Said as in A Loving Man, the game is a way of telling a non-linear story, a story that emerges through breaks, echoes and miscues. One round of "Chinese Whispers" closes with the sentence "His family is not on the map"; originally, we then learn, it was "Things in our family were not talked about". In another round, "Everything is censored" turns into "Everything fits together now". (The original sentences were culled from an interview with the artist's deceased aunt.)

The piece is not just the record of a game, but a séance without the mystical trappings and an accumulation of Freudian slips, an exercise in which the failures of communication are metaphors for loss, and for the brittleness of memory. But the lapses are part of the game and the game, of course, is collective. Remarkably, it underlines the ties between the five women even as they misunderstand one another, each misunderstanding implicitly revealing a shared-though possibly unacknowledged-insight.

Still from She Said by Jananne Al-Ani, 2000
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