My Homeland: A short Experimental Film

Hala Georges (Photographer)

    Research output: Non-Textual OutputDigital or Visual Media

    Abstract

    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?

    The video starts with the anthem of Palestine and Iraq called my ‘My Homeland’ being sung in the Latin Catholic Church of Lattakia- Syria in 2014. The anthem was written for Palestine since the struggle started with Israel. Iraq then adopted it by the American invasion of Iraq in 2004, to be followed by Syrian churches just recently adopting the same anthem. This adoption of a national hymn that is associated with a country’s struggle made it very popular, and it has been memorised and liked by every Syrian going through similar circumstances to Iraqis and Palestinians. It created a sense of unity and solitude between these affected nations.

    This video uses the display of this anthem on a Sunday mass to represent what the notion of ‘Homeland’ means after the war and how it came to take on a different meaning. The anthem supports the video message in many ways as its melody is nostalgic and longing while its words have powerful and heartfelt meanings.
    Throughout the video, Skype video-calls between myself and my family and some video messages between us emerge, that shows a side of the relationship between myself and my homeland since almost one year ago, which is the time it took me to collect the footage. It shows that the notion of homeland changes from belonging to a country to belonging to faces of people we care for, which are only visible through the computer/phone screen –if the connection is possible- and the image would usually be pixilated and blurry with bad and interrupted sound.

    One might argue that this piece is very personal and can only be applied to my personal situation. About that I say, the situation showed in the video; the change of home concept to faces we see through a digital screen, the lack and difficulty of communication, displacement, the new technological means of communication through Skype, Viber, Facebook among other applications, that all apply on most of the immigrants, refugees, and exiled people who left their home for any reason and had to deal with similar situation to mine.

    Here, the power of emotions, the spoken word, and the image altogether reveal a personal struggle and conflict, which is at once a widespread dilemma in our modern time. As most of our communication nowadays relies on digital screens, this piece comes to point out that but in the context of a relationship between an immigrant and family in war, which makes the situation inherently more challenging.

    The footage was shot by one of my friends on his mobile and sent to me by Google Drive via the Internet. The fact that shows the technology power and usefulness making this video possible, in addition to making staying in contact as well possible.
    Hence, on the melody of nostalgia and words of resistance, passion and love for homeland, this video celebrates the new means of communication with homeland, while referring to that dramatic change of the meaning of homeland.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    This film has been screened in the following events/exhibitions:

    2018: Sep. My Homeland. Athens Cinema. Ohio. USA
    http://athenacinema.com/syrianidentityandhomeland/

    2016. Sep-Oct. My Homeland. My Homeland. Foyer Gallery. Farnham
    https://www.uca.ac.uk/galleries/gallery-archive/foyer-gallery-dr-hala-georges/

    2016. Feb-Mar. My Homeland. From Rochester with Love. Herbert Read Gallery. Canterbury.
    https://research.uca.ac.uk/3340/

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