On Revolution (Preliminary version)
by Maya al-Khoury and Abounaddara

SEP
14
Film screening
9 pm
BALi-Kinos, Rainer-Dierichs-Platz 1, Kassel

Maya al-Khoury, On Revolution (Preliminary version), Syria, 2017, film still

On Revolution (Preliminary version)
Directed by Maya al-Khoury, 2017, Syria, 140 min.
Film in progress produced by the Abounaddara collective with the support of documenta 14 and other partners around the world


The screening will take place in the presence of Charif Kiwan, representing the Syrian film collective Abounaddara. Introduction by Adam Szymczyk, documenta 14 Artistic Director, and Pierre Bal-Blanc, documenta 14 Curator. A Q&A will follow the screening.

On Revolution is an invitation to immerse oneself in the daily life of a society seized by the desire for emancipation. It tells the stories of anonymous Syrians over the course of six years while striving to grasp the temporality of history in the making, of a revolution in our times. It looks into the question of how to make visible a revolution that has been rendered invisible by the smokescreen of geopolitics and media images.

Shot continuously since the spring of 2011, a preliminary version of this 140-minute film is presented at documenta 14, which contributed to its production. Directed by Maya al-Khoury within the framework of the Abounaddara collective, it is the first departure from the collective’s rule of anonymity since it was founded in Damascus in 2010.

Immersion is a major component of the film, an invitation to enter history without falling back on news images or resorting to didacticism and voiceovers. It aims to escape the media’s law of inertia while maintaining the requisite perspective for the viewer to remain within touching distance of the figures developing in radically different places and tendencies, both inside and outside Syria. Viewers will find themselves following characters whose overlapping and intersecting stories have come to constitute history. Yet, viewers will remain free to form their own judgment, since the camera following the characters avoids enclosing them within any national, religious, or political frame.

Maya al-Khoury’s approach resembles that of a historian adept at navigating micro-histories, following and connecting the paths of a few individual fates in order to make history visible. She deploys the stories of those who she has followed across successive stages of the revolution, to allow for the reduction in scale necessary to understand and empathize.


Born in Syria in 1969, Maya al-Khoury studied literature at the Damascus University and received a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Vienna in Austria. In 2007, she was the assistant director of Damascus: The Smile of Sadness, a film produced by the Syrian National Film Organization. Since 2010, she has been working in the framework of the Abounaddara collective, which she co-founded in Damascus.

Abounaddara is an anonymous collective of Syrian image-makers aiming to empower their society to independently produce its own image. An artistic project that employs the aesthetics of cinema in a spirit of do-it-yourself and disorientation, Abounaddara is also a political project that plays on anonymity and dis-identification to construct spaces of resistance.

Entrance: 7,50 € / reduced 7 €

Posted in Public Exhibition
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