Faces: A short Abstract Film

Hala Georges (Producer)

    Research output: Non-Textual OutputDigital or Visual Media


    Research Question; How can a visual researcher address and respond to the personal impact of the current Syrian conflict and the inherent ideological battles within it without resorting to standard forms of war images?

    Before making this video, I was asking a number of Syrian participants, who were living the Syrian conflict, to record a video message and send it to me. The video could be about anything related to their daily lives, a diary message, personal and unscripted one. In return I haven’t heard back from them for months, until one day I received a video message over What’s App (a communication application on smart phone) from my sister. When I first opened the video; it was black, empty and then it started to be filled with stripes. I initially thought that the image will clear up but it didn’t. All I could see was abstract lines moving up and down. It was obvious, however, that the lines were moving with the voices of my sister and two nieces having a casual chat, telling me different stories and singing.

    I was eager to respond to this message. Particularly, to my strong shock and disappointment of not being able to see their faces. Even watching a pixilated image of them was no longer an option, and the communication with family and the rest of the participants have been the worse since the project started. I was frustrated, sad, and felt forced to deal with those abstract ambiguous lines as a video message from home and how home looks and feels like. In a way, the image of home has been forced to change and take a shape of cold lines that I can’t relate to.

    For all those reasons, I decided to speak up my feelings about the nature of this message accompanied with Syrian traditional music, which led to me adding a mixture of my voice over and music to the original video. The original video then has been worked on in response to the speed and the rhythm of the music. The input that makes the video a visual response not only to the music used in the piece but to the state of emotions from frustration, longing, and devastation to see features of my beloved people taking the shape of ambiguous lines. Hence, the dramatic nature of the final result of the video is an attempt to convey the horror and
    sadness I felt when I was watching the video.

    The material gathering reached almost an impossible point and the communication was becoming worse every day that the data, which I used to be able to gather in 6 months it would take a year or longer in the current circumstances of the Syrian war.

    The bad connection of internet and telephone, the lack of power, and the difficult time they are going through forced the project to deal with the graphic language. Although this abstract language in particular was not created in purpose and it wasn’t intentional but processed and developed from the original video message, it is still offering an abstract substitute to the realistic footage. This confirms my coherent approach to rely on the power of narrative rather than on visual effects and sets the difference between my work and another abstract video art. This video was a result of the event, which led -with the synchronisation between motion, music and the meaning of words- to represent the un-representable.
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputFilm
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015

    Bibliographical note

    The short film was screened in the following exhibitions:

    2016: Sep-Oct. Faces. Foyer Gallery, Farnham,

    2016: Feb-Mar. Faces, From Rochester with Love, Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury


    Dive into the research topics of 'Faces: A short Abstract Film'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this