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Rosalind Nashashibi
Nashashibi's chosen subjects are communal spaces in which a shared activity, interest or goal temporarily bring different kinds of people together; thus enacting some of the humanist ideals of civic duty that created public buildings like hospitals, university libraries, leisure centres.

Even if that humanist intent has disappeared from the official agenda of public life, in her films those spaces continue to function as contact zones between otherwise different strata of society.


Hers is a benign view of civic duty and the architecture it produced in the modernism of the 50's and 60's that contrasts with the erosion of community and society under Thatcherism and the present-day privatisation of public space. Working intuitively within this repertoire of images internalised within collective consciousness, she uses the durational nature of film and editing to select only those moments just before the self-consciousness of being seen and represented enters the people in the spaces she films. This is a very telling characteristic of her concern with the recto of the image, the reverse side of 'being-in-the world' that Heidegger's calls the world as picture that has developed along a certain trajectory. Instead of the recto, she gives us the verso of representation but without the drama that makes the viewer slide from one into the other. An example of this can be found in Steve McQueen's Bear (1993) when the two male wrestlers move from iconic images of boxers to simply two friends horsing around; or in Fiona Tan's use of archival footage that shifts from African natives, posing for a photograph as docile subjects of colonialism, to mocking children laughing and jostling irreverently in front of the camera. By refusing this dramatic strategy, Nashashibi honours the agency of her subjects as active citizens in the world and reinvests the private within the public with an ethical purpose that refuses the cynicism of an older post-68 generation.

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