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UAL Research Online


Al-Ani, Jananne (2010) Excavators. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Al-Ani, Jananne

Excavators is a single channel film which part of a larger portfolio of photographic and video work exploring the role of both the physical body and the 'virtual' body (through its representation in art and architecture) in the real and imagined landscapes of the Middle East.

By examining the history of idolatry and the ebb and flow of iconoclasm and aniconism in monotheistic religions Al-Ani was able to explore the relationship between the desire to eradicate the image of the body and the literal disappearance of the 'real' body in situations of conflict or war. Once the body of a soldier who falls in battle or a victim of genocide is disposed of in the landscape, discreet signs of disturbance on the surface of the earth are often the only clues to its presence. Having been moved by the story of Margaret Cox and her work to uncover the mass graves of victims of genocide, Al-Ani became interested in the parallels between the work of forensic anthropologists and that of archaeologists: through the delicate and painstaking deconstruction of a site, the unpicking of evidence and eventually to the reconstruction of events leading to the formation of a given site.

In contrast with the large-scale Shadow Sites films, Excavators is shown on a tiny 5 inch monitor. Focusing on a group of industrious ants working in the sand, the film draws attention to an activity in the landscape that could very easily be overlooked and the results of which are hard to comprehend. What is the purpose of all this activity and what might it expose or uncover?

Additional Information (Publicly available):

For a record of the exhibition of this work at the Smithsonian see: http://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/3652/.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 2010
Funders: Young Arab Theatre Fund, Arts Council England
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Solo Exhibition, Darat al funun, Amman, Jordan18 May 201022 July 2010
all our relations, 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia27 June 201216 September 2012
Shadow Sites: Recent Work by Jananne Al-Ani Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC25 August 201210 February 2013
Groundwork (solo exhibition), Beirut Art Center, Lebanon.7 February 20136 April 2013
Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE13 March 201313 May 2013
Material/Media: Film (digitised super 16 mm film)
Measurements or Duration of item: 2’24”
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2013 14:31
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 04:46
Item ID: 5691
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/5691

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