Film: The Distance from Here by Bani Abidi

‘The Distance from Here’ Film Programme

Gallery 9’s film programme is curated in conjunction with the exhibition, ‘The Distance from Here’, currently on display at Jameel Arts Centre on Level 1 until January 22, 2022. Focusing on similar themes, the films explore personal responses to and interactions with space and time. The programme features works by Bani Abidi, Mohamed Soueid and Mohammad Alfaraj.

The Distance from Here 

Bani Abidi, The Distance from Here, 2010, Single channel video, 12 mins. Courtesy of the artist and Experimenter, Kolkata.

Bani Abidi’s video, The Distance from Here is a reflection on the psychology of visa waiting rooms, embassy protocols and the nervous anticipation of visa applicants hoping to access international travel from cities in South Asia. Gleaned from frequent visits to the ‘Diplomatic Enclave’ in Islamabad, Abidi gently observes the gestures of her fellow visa applicants; their conversations and questions; the spontaneous local economy that props up and enables the time of waiting and preparation; and the forbidding architecture and processes of permission that strip people of their belongings, and separates and organises them into obedient bodies. This video is a homage to everyone who feels scared and unsure about whether they will ever get to make their journey.

*This film is the inspiration behind the title of ongoing Art Jameel Collection exhibition ‘The Distance from Here’.

About Bani Abidi 

Bani Abidi (b.1971, lives and works between Berlin and Karachi) uses video and photography to comment upon politics and culture, often through humorous and absurd vignettes. She obtained her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 1994 and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999.

Her work has been exhibited widely in solo and group shows internationally. Solo shows have taken place at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Sharjah Art Foundation; Gropius Bau, Berlin; Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg; Dallas Contemporary; Kunstverein, Arnsberg; The Baltic, Gateshead; Experimenter, Kolkata; Green Cardamom, London, amongst others. Select group shows include, Experimenter, Kolkata, 2019 & 2018; Kunstraum Bhethanian, Berlin, 2018; Edinburgh Arts Festival, 2016; 8th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, 2014; Smack Mellon, New York, 2014; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2013; dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, 2012; Kochi Muziris Biennial, 2012; Xth Lyon Biennale, 2009; 7th Gwangju Biennale, 2008; Singapore Biennale, 2006; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, 2006; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2006; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2005; 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka, 2005; amongst several others. Abidi was the artist in Residence at DAAD Artists Residency, Berlin from 2011–2012.