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Shadi Habib Allah

Shadi Habib Allah, Did you see me this time, with your own eyes? (detail), 2018

2G phones, micro controllers, Raspberry Pi, Relays, chargers, Dimensions variable

At a time when moving images are ubiquitous, transgressing media boundaries, if we can even still call it that, is defined by other parameters. Tensions between mainstream and underground, narrative cinema and avant-garde, art and cinema seem largely to have been dissolved. Today, the overriding questions are more and more about the relation of images to the real. The 14th Forum Expanded is showing 30 short and long films, 17 installation works, and a performance that point to life outside the echo chamber that we find ourselves in, and not just in social media.

Shadi Habib Allah will show Did You See Me This Time with Your Own Eyes? (2018), where he follows a group of bedouins in the Sinai desert. In order to shield themselves from the Egyptian government’s efforts to track their phone calls, some Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula have opted to use old 2G phones as these devices are said to be better shielded from surveillance. They have also developed coded dialects that are inaccessible to the rest of the region’s population. Shadi Habib Allah acquired some of their cryptic conversations, managed to translate them, and had them encrypted on mini computers. A group of Palestinian engineers were given these devices and commissioned to set up a DIY 2G phone network. If set up properly, the network autonomously makes calls and provides a translation on a screen.

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