Red Chewing Gum (2000)

Akram Zaatari
Red Chewing Gum
Video with colour and stereo sound
10 minutes
Commissioned by Ashkal Alwan for the Hamra Street Project
Courtesy of the artist


Mounira Al Solh introduces Red Chewing Gum (2000) by Akram Zaatari:

I chose this video by Akram Zaatari because it was amongst the first video art pieces that I saw in Beirut in my youth. What I found impressive was its form. [It was] not a big production film—which I usually find very disturbing—or a long, boring, intellectual film. Instead, it had a free form that I immediately felt close to. Since the characters are people we meet in Beirut, the language is Lebanese [Arabic]; it made the work relatable, unlike works from Europe or elsewhere. I also related to the elements, characters, language and the shots. At that time, I didn’t know Zaatari personally; I liked the work without knowing anything about its maker.’

About the work:

Taking the form of a video letter, Red Chewing Gum is a story of separation set within the context of the changing urban landscape of Hamra, once a bustling commercial neighbourhood. In this video, Hamra is filmed through its reflection off of a cheap, red plastic surface, causing the footage to look outside of time. This film has been screened at film festivals and exhibitions, including Videoex, Zurich (2016); Biennale of the Moving Image, Geneva (2002); EMAF, Osnabrück (2001); Piano Nobile, Geneva (2001); Videobrasil, São Paolo (2001); World Wide Video Festival, Amsterdam (2001); and Impakt, Utrecht (2001). The film has received numerous awards including the Special Jury Award, Videolisboa (2001) and Waly Salomão prize, Videobrasil (2001).

Red Chewing Gum was commissioned by Ashkal Alwan for the Hamra Street Project (2000).

Screening and Booking Information

Red Chewing Gum (2000)
Director: Akram Zaatari
Experimental | 10 minutes
Arabic with English subtitles

This screening is part of the Genealogies in the Middle East and Latin America project, which explores historical and contemporary relationships between artists from these two regions. It unfolds along narratives revealed by the artists' personal accounts that provide critical alternative perspectives and insights by decentralising dominant narratives, schools and paradigms produced and affirmed in the West.

To learn more, please click here.

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Akram Zaatari: Red Chewing Gum (2000)

Genealogies in the Middle East and Latin America

Sharjah Art Foundation presents a series of online film screenings jointly organised with Anna Goetz, who initiated this collaborative project featuring 21 artists and collectives from the Middle East and Latin America working in film and video.