Western Front Society
The Western Front is an artist-run centre located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was founded in 1973 by eight artists who wanted to create a space for the exploration and creation of new art forms. After they purchased the former Knights of Pythias lodge hall located in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver, it became a centre for poets, dancers and visual artists interested in exploration and interdisciplinary practices. Many of the Western Front's early works reflect this interdisciplinary ethos with early influences of Duchampian and Fluxus-based investigations into mail art, telecommunications art, live electronic music and performance art. Western Front supported a number of political and activist projects - in one of their most famous performance pieces, founding member Vincent Trasov adopted the personality of Mr. Peanut, gave a number of performances and in 1974 ran for mayor of Vancouver. Mr. Peanut was so regarded that he was picked by The Vancouver Sun as one of the province's 100 most influential people as the end of the millennium approached in 1999.
As a focal point of experimental art practice through the 1970s and 1980s, the Western Front, in connection with other centres like it, played a major role in the development of electronic and networked art forms in a national and international context. Over its nearly 40-year history the Western Front has promoted critical investigations into and surrounding interdisciplinary, media-based, anti-object, ephemeral practices with particular attention to the contexts and economies in which art is produced. While general curatorial priorities have remained dedicated to these practices, the Western Front's internal structure has continued to evolve and a number of distinct programs have been established and retired over the years including Performance Art, Movement Arts, Literary Arts and Front Magazine; the Western Front still continues to program events and exhibitions related to these genres, but no longer supports dedicated departments. The Western Front continues to maintain programs in Media Art, New Music, Exhibitions.
In 2015, the society received a gift of $1.5 million from Vancouver property developers, that enabled the society to purchase the building from its owners. In 1993, Western Front published the Whispered Art History: Twenty Years at the Western Front, which documents and celebrates the first twenty years at one of Canada's first artist-run centres; the volume features essays by Peter Culley, Karen Knights, Judy Radul, Alex Varty and William Wood in addition to a comprehensive chronology of Western Front's events during its beginning years Western Front website Front Magazine
Stan Douglas is an artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Douglas' film and video installations and work in television touch on the history of literature and music, while examining the "failed utopia" of modernism and obsolete technologies, he has exhibited internationally, including Documenta IX, 1992, Documenta X, 1997, Documenta XI, 2002 and the Venice Biennale in 1990, 2001 and 2005. Art collector Friedrich Christian Flick, in the foreword to the Stan Douglas monograph, describes Douglas as "a critical analysis of our social reality. Samuel Beckett and Marcel Proust, E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Brothers Grimm and free jazz and Hollywood, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud haunt the uncanny montages of the Canadian artist." Stan Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he lives and works. Educated at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Douglas has exhibited since his first solo show in 1981. Among numerous group exhibitions, Douglas was included in the 1995 Carnegie International, the 1995 Whitney Biennial, the 1997 Skulptur Projekte Münster and Documenta X in Kassel.
In 2007, Douglas was the recipient of the inaugural Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award, a $25,000 prize for excellence in Canadian visual arts presented by Gerda Hnatyshyn president and chair of the board of The Hnatyshyn Foundation. In 2008 he was awarded the Bell Award in Video Art. Douglas is represented by New York and Victoria Miro Gallery, London. Douglas' work reflects the technical and social aspects of mass media, since the late 1980s has been influenced by the work of Samuel Beckett. Of concern is both modernism as a theoretical concept and modernity as it has affected North American urbanism since World War II. In using what art historian Hal Foster describes as the "outmoded genre" of cinema, Douglas' interest in "failed utopias and obsolete technologies" allows for the creation of a "new medium out of the remnants of old forms." Douglas' preoccupation with failed utopias and the obsolete is not about a redemption of "these past events, but to reconsider them: to understand why these utopian moments did not fulfill themselves, what larger forces kept a local moment a minor moment: and what was valuable there — what might still be useful today."
Douglas' work only touches on race directly in a few instances, such as the short video I'm Not Gary. This interpretation of race is important, as the brief narrative involves a white man mistaking a black man for a different black man named Gary, for writer Lisa Coulthard, this is part of a larger investigation of racism as part of imperialism and cultural invisibility. For Coulthard, the lack of mention of race in works that feature only white performers troubles any racial reading of Douglas' work. In a great deal of Douglas' works, class rather than race is the key element. Having grown up in a white middle-class neighbourhood in Vancouver, race was only an issue of invisibility rather than civil rights for Douglas. Although race as a theme is not a central or obvious concern of Douglas, his own identity as a Black-Canadian is addressed through his use of music and in particular, musical idioms associated with African-American culture, such as blues and jazz. In particular, Douglas points to the cultural prejudices which associate the "primitive" with black music, while the European musical tradition is positioned as "high culture".
This binary between primitive and civilized is further complicated when considering jazz and its position as both "race music" but highly cultured and in particular the European embracing of jazz as high art. An early work, Deux Devises, presents a projection of text, the lyrics of 19th century composer Charles Gounod's song "O ma belle, ma rebelle." A recording of Robert Johnson's "Preaching Blues" is played, with accompanying images of Douglas phonetically mouthing the words to the song, out of sync with the recording. The pairing of the safe salon music of Gounod, the raw sounds of Johnson, points to the typical prejudice which validates and promotes the supposed seriousness of European music. Where Johnson's words are anguished, Gounod's are comfortable. Douglas' use of jazz is a more direct response to complex attitudes towards African-American music. Exhibited for the first time at documenta 9 in 1992, Hors-champs is a video installation that addresses the political context of free jazz in the 1960s, as an extension of black consciousness and is one of his few works to directly address race.
Four American musicians, George Lewis, Douglas Ewart, Kent Carter and Oliver Johnson who lived in France during the free jazz period in the 1960s, improvise Albert Ayler's 1965 composition "Spirits Rejoice.". Free jazz found a larger audience in Europe and was associated with politics and in particular in France where it was utilized by the French Communist Party during May 1968; the music is in four parts, a gospel melody, an attenuated call and response, a heraldic fanfare and "La Marseillaise." Shot in the style of 1960s French television program and using period technology, the work is projected onto a screen and recto. On one side is the "broadcast" version, a montage taken from two cameras, what would be chosen to be transmitted to the home audience; the other side shows the images not meant for public viewing, what was edited out. The two sides of the screen present a complete document of the performance, one in which the viewer must negotiate, depicting the "authorized" version but the conditions of its production.
What is being emphasized is a contrast between the banality of television and the radical programming, featured at the time. Lu
University of Victoria
The University of Victoria is a major public research university located in the Greater Victoria municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich, British Columbia, Canada. The University of Victoria is the oldest post-secondary institution in British Columbia, tracing its roots back to Victoria College, founded in 1903, under the sponsorship of McGill University; the university has 22,000 students, including many post-graduate and doctoral candidates. The university operates nine academic schools. Gustavson School of Business, the Faculties of Education, Fine Arts, Human & Social Development, Law and Social Sciences. Based in the capital of British Columbia, the university has educated many prominent public figures, including Jody Wilson-Raybould, Rona Ambrose, Russell Brown. Other alumni from the university includes founders of many prominent technology companies in recent years, including Flickr and Hootsuite; the University of Victoria has produced several Rhodes and Gates Scholars in recent years, its alumni and faculty have worked on Nobel Prize winning research teams.
It is the nation's lead institution in the VENUS and NEPTUNE deep-water seafloor observatory projects. The University has been home to more than 40 faculty Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada; the university holds one of the largest financial endowments in British Columbia, receives a significant portion of federal research funds each year. The University of Victoria is the oldest post-secondary institution in British Columbia, established in 1903 as an affiliated college of McGill University before gaining full autonomy through a charter on 1 July 1963. Victoria College, established in 1903 as an affiliated college of McGill University, gained autonomy and full degree granting status on March 1, 1963; the non-denominational university had enjoyed 60 years of prior teaching tradition at the university level as Victoria College. This 60 years of history may be viewed conveniently in three distinct stages. Between the years 1903 and 1915, Victoria College was affiliated with McGill University, offering first- and second-year McGill courses in Arts and Science.
Administered locally by the Victoria School Board, the College was an adjunct to Victoria High School and shared its facilities. Both institutions were under the direction of a single Principal: E. B. Paul, 1903–1908. J. Willis, 1908–1915; the opening in 1915 of the University of British Columbia, established by Act of Legislature in 1908, obliged the college to suspend operations in higher education in Victoria. University of British Columbia was created in 1908. A single, public provincial university, it was modeled on the American state university, with an emphasis on extension work and applied research; the governance was modeled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate, responsible for academic policy, a board of governors exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the two bodies and to perform institutional leadership.
In 1920, as a result of local demands, Victoria College began the second stage of its development, reborn in affiliation with the University of British Columbia. Though still administered by the Victoria School Board, the college was now separated from Victoria High School, moving in 1921 into the magnificent Dunsmuir mansion known as Craigdarroch Castle. Over the next two decades, under Principals E. B. Paul and P. H. Elliott, Victoria College built a reputation for thorough and scholarly instruction in first- and second-year arts and science, it was during this period that future author Pierre Berton edited and served as principal cartoonist for the student newsletter, The Microscope. Between the years 1921-1944, the enrollment at Victoria College did not often reach above 250. However, in 1945, 128 servicemen returned from World War II; this pushed enrollment up to 400, in 1946. The final stage, between the years 1945 and 1963, saw the transition from two-year college to university, under Principals J.
M. Ewing and W. H. Hickman. During this period, the college was governed by the Victoria College Council, representative of the parent University of British Columbia, the Greater Victoria School Board, the provincial Department of Education. Physical changes were many. In 1946 the college was forced by postwar enrollment to move from Craigdarroch to the Lansdowne campus of the Provincial Normal School, the current location of Camosun College's Lansdowne Campus; the Normal School, itself an institution with a long and honourable history, joined Victoria College in 1956 as its Faculty of Education. Late in this transitional period the 284-acre --now 385-acre --campus at Gordon Head was acquired. Academic expansion was rapid after 1956, until in 1961 the college, still in affiliation with UBC, awarded its first bachelor's degrees. In the early part of this century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced.
The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society. The university gained its full autonomy in 1963 as the University of Victoria; the University Act of 1963 vested adminis
Performance art is a performance presented to an audience within a fine art context, traditionally interdisciplinary. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or orchestrated, spontaneous or otherwise planned with or without audience participation; the performance can be live or via media. It can be any situation that involves four basic elements: time, the performer's body, or presence in a medium, a relationship between performer and audience. Performance art can happen anywhere, for any length of time; the actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work. Performance art is an contested concept: any single definition of it implies the recognition of rival uses; as concepts like "democracy" or "art", it implies productive disagreement with itself. The meaning of the term in the narrower sense is related to postmodernist traditions in Western culture. From about the mid-1960s into the 1970s derived from concepts of visual art, with respect to Antonin Artaud, the Situationists, installation art and conceptual art, performance art tended to be defined as an antithesis to theatre, challenging orthodox art forms and cultural norms.
The ideal had been an ephemeral and authentic experience for performer and audience in an event that could not be repeated, captured or purchased. The discussed difference, how concepts of visual arts and concepts of performing arts are utilized, can determine the meanings of a performance art presentation. Performance art is a term reserved to refer to a conceptual art which conveys a content-based meaning in a more drama-related sense, rather than being simple performance for its own sake for entertainment purposes, it refers to a performance presented to an audience, but which does not seek to present a conventional theatrical play or a formal linear narrative, or which alternately does not seek to depict a set of fictitious characters in formal scripted interactions. It therefore can include action or spoken word as a communication between the artist and audience, or ignore expectations of an audience, rather than following a script written beforehand; some kinds of performance art can be close to performing arts.
Such performance may utilize a script or create a fictitious dramatic setting, but still constitute performance art in that it does not seek to follow the usual dramatic norm of creating a fictitious setting with a linear script which follows conventional real-world dynamics. Performance artists challenge the audience to think in new and unconventional ways, break conventions of traditional arts, break down conventional ideas about "what art is"; as long as the performer does not become a player who repeats a role, performance art can include satirical elements. Some artists, e.g. the Viennese Actionists and neo-Dadaists, prefer to use the terms "live art", "action art", "actions", "intervention" or "manoeuvre" to describe their performing activities. As genres of performance art appear body art, fluxus-performance, action poetry, intermedia. Performance art activity is not confined to American art traditions. Performance artists and theorists point to different traditions and histories, ranging from tribal to sporting and ritual or religious events.
In an episode of In Our Time broadcast on Thu, 20 Oct 2005, 21:30 on BBC Radio 4, Angie Hobbs, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Warwick. Western cultural theorists trace performance art activity back to the beginning of the 20th century, to the Russian constructivists and Dada. Dada provided a significant progenitor with the unconventional performances of poetry at the Cabaret Voltaire, by the likes of Richard Huelsenbeck and Tristan Tzara. Russian Futurist artists could be identified as precursors of performance, such as David Burliuk, who painted his face for his actions and Alexander Rodchenko and his wife Varvara Stepanova. According to the art critic Harold Rosenberg in the 1940s and 1950s Action Painting gave artists the freedom to perform—the canvas as "an arena in which to act", thereby rendering the paintings as traces of the artist's performance in his/her studio. Abstract expressionism and Action painting preceded the Fluxus movement and the emergence of Performance Art. Performance art was anticipated, if not explicitly formulated, by Japan's Gutai group of the 1950s in such works as Atsuko Tanaka's Electric Dress.
Yves Klein had been a precursor of performance art with the conceptual pieces of Zone de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle 1959–62, Anthropométries, works like the photomontage, Saut dans le vide. In the late 1960s Earth artists as diverse as Robert Smithson, Dennis Oppenheim, Michael Heizer and Carl Andre created environmental pieces that predict the performan
Tony Oursler is an American multimedia and installation artist. He completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the California Institute for the Arts, California in 1979, his art covers a range of mediums working with video, installation and painting. The artist lives and works in New York City, he is married to painter Jacqueline Humphries. Born in Manhattan in 1957, Oursler was brought up in New York. At CalArts, his fellow students included Sue Williams, Stephen Prina and Jim Shaw. John Baldessari — with whom he did an independent study — and Laurie Anderson were teachers. Oursler was picked up by Electronic Arts Intermix. In 1999, Oursler moved to a studio near New York City Hall. Tony Oursler is known for his fractured-narrative handmade video tapes including The Loner and EVOL; these works involve elaborate sound tracks, painted sets, stop-action animation and optical special effects created by the artist. The early videotapes have been exhibited extensively in alternative spaces and museums, they are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix.
His early installation works are immersive dark-room environments with video and language mixed with colorful constructed sculptural elements. In these projects, Oursler experimented with methods of removing the moving image from the video monitor using reflections in water, mirrors and other devices. For example, L-7, L-5, exhibited at The Kitchen in 1983, used the translucent quality of video reflected on broken glass. Oursler began working with small LCD video projectors in 1991 in his installation The Watching presented at documenta 9, featuring his first video doll and dummy; this work utilizes handmade soft cloth figures combined with expressive faces animated by video projection. Oursler produced a series of installations that combined found objects and video projections. Judy explored the relationship between multiple personality mass media. Get Away II features a passive/aggressive projected figure wedged under a mattress that confronts the viewer with blunt direct address; these installations led to great critical acclaim.
Signature works have been his talking lights, such as Streetlight, his series of video sculptures of eyes with television screens reflected in the pupils, ominous talking heads such as Composite Still Life. An installation called Optics examines the polarity between dark and light in the history of the camera obscura. In his text "Time Stream", Oursler proposed that architecture and moving image installation have been forever linked by the camera obscura noting that cave dwellers observed the world as projections via peep holes. Oursler's interest in the ephemeral history of the virtual image lead to large scale public projects and permanent installations by 2000; the Public Art Fund and Artangel commissioned the Influence Machine in 2000. This installation marks the artist's first major outdoor project and thematically traced the development of successive communication devices from the telegraph to the personal computer as a means of speaking with the dead. Oursler used smoke and buildings as projection screens in Madison Square Park NYC and Soho Square London.
He completed a number of permanent public projects in Barcelona, New Zealand, Arizona including "Braincast" at the Seattle Public Library. In 2009 he created a series of commissioned video installations at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, New York. Oursler was part of the musical and performance group, "Poetics", with fellow California Institute of the Arts students Mike Kelley and John Miller. "Mike played the drums and I sang and we both played organ — we both bonded on that because of our Catholic upbringing. Though to say'played' is an exaggeration. Oursler collaborated with him on several works. Oursler created the background videos that played at David Bowie's 50th birthday party concert in 1997. In 2000, Oursler and Bowie collaborated on the four-minute short film Empty, in which Bowie's disembodied head provided narration. Oursler made the video to accompany Bowie's January 2013 single "Where Are We Now?", a piece showing two Bowie heads in conversation with each other for the 2013 "David Bowie Is" exhibit organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
See videos Electronic Arts Intermix “Tony Oursler Video Projections” by Tony Oursler, Inner-Tube Videos. 2002, 27 minutes, Color. NY: Inner-Tube Videos. Oursler's work has been exhibited in public institutions including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. O. P. Foundation, Caracas. "Introjection”, the artist's mid-career survey, was on view from 1999 to 2001 at the Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts, the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa. In 2000, Ourlser's installation The Darkest Color Infinitely Amplified was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Tate Modern. Oursler's work was included in Glasstress at the 54th Venice Biennale. From October–December 2010, the Lehmann Maupin Gallery hosted Oursler's exhibition entitled Peak; the exhibition was timed with Oursler's Valley, the inaugural exhibition of the Adobe Museum of Digital Media. Jan. 13 – March 5, 2011 JGM Galerie, France July 2–17, 2011 The Influence Machine, Whitworth Art Gallery, England Mar. 18 – June 18, 2011 Comm
Victoria Day is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. As such, it is the Monday between the 18th to the 24th inclusive, thus is always the penultimate Monday of May; the date is that on which the current Canadian sovereign's official birthday is recognized. It is sometimes informally considered the beginning of the summer season in Canada; the holiday has been observed in Canada since at least 1845 falling on Victoria's actual birthday. It continues to be celebrated in various fashions across the country. Victoria Day is a federal statutory holiday, as well as a holiday in six of Canada's ten provinces and all three of its territories. In Quebec, before 2003, the Monday preceding 25 May of each year was unofficially the Fête de Dollard, a commemoration of Adam Dollard des Ormeaux initiated in the 1920s to coincide with Victoria Day. In 2003, provincial legislation created National Patriots' Day on the same date.
The birthday of Queen Victoria was a day for celebration in Canada long before Confederation, with the first legislation regarding the event being in 1845 passed by the parliament of the Province of Canada to recognize May 24 as the Queen's birthday. It was noted that on that date in 1854, the 35th birthday of Queen Victoria, some 5,000 residents of Canada West gathered in front of Government House to "give cheers to their queen". An example of a typical 19th century celebration of the Queen's birthday took place on May 24, 1866, in Omemee in Canada West: the town mounted a day-long fête to mark the occasion, including a gun salute at midnight, pre-dawn serenades, athletic competitions, a display of illuminations, a torch-light procession. Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, May 24 was made by law to be known as Victoria Day, a date to remember the late queen, deemed the "Mother of Confederation", and, in 1904, the same date was by imperial decree made Empire Day throughout the British Empire.
Over the ensuing decades, the official date in Canada of the reigning sovereign's birthday changed through various royal proclamations until the haphazard format was abandoned in 1952. That year, both Empire Day and Victoria Day were, by order-in-council and statutory amendment moved to the Monday before May 25 and the monarch's official birthday in Canada was by regular viceregal proclamations made to fall on this same date every year between 1953 and January 31, 1957, when the link was made permanent by royal proclamation; the following year, Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day and in 1977 it was moved to the second Monday in March, leaving the Monday before May 25 only as both Victoria Day and the Queen's Birthday. Victoria Day celebrations have been marred by major tragedy at least twice: In 1881, the passenger ferry Victoria overturned in the Thames River, near London, Ontario; the boat departed in the evening with 600 to 800 people on board—three times the allowable passenger capacity—and capsized part way across the river, drowning some 182 individuals, including a large number of children, with their families for Victoria Day picnics at Springbank Park.
The event came to be known as the Victoria Day disaster. On May 26, 1896, the Point Ellice Bridge disaster occurred in Victoria, British Columbia, when a bridge collapsed under the weight of a streetcar overloaded with passengers on their way to attend Victoria Day celebrations. In 2013, a group of prominent Canadian actors and politicians sent a petition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, requesting that the holiday be renamed Victoria and First Peoples Day. Most workplaces in Canada are regulated by the territorial governments. Therefore, although Victoria Day is a statutory holiday for federal purposes, whether an employee is entitled to a paid day off depends on the province or territory of residence; the status of Victoria Day in each of the provinces and territories is as follows: It is a general holiday in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and is a statutory holiday in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Victoria Day is not a paid public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, but is a government holiday.
In Nunavut and New Brunswick, the date is set as a general holiday to mark the reigning sovereign's official birthday. In Quebec, the province's legislative assembly passed legislation that dedicated National Patriots' Day, commemorating the patriotes of the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837, to be celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25; this replaced the Fête de Dollard, celebrated by Quebecers on Victoria Day since the 1960s and which commemorated Adam Dollard des Ormeaux. Canada is the only country. Federal government protocol dictates that, on Victoria Day, the Royal Union Flag is to be flown from sunrise to sunset at all federal government buildings—including airports, military bases, other Crown owned property across the country—where physical arrangements allow (i.e. where a second flag pole exists, as the Royal Un
Mona Hatoum, is a Palestinian multimedia and installation artist who lives in London, United Kingdom. Mona Hatoum was born in 1952 in Lebanon to Palestinian parents. Although born in Lebanon, Hatoum was ineligible for a Lebanese Identification Card, does not identify as Lebanese; as she grew up, her family did not support her desire to pursue art. She continued to draw throughout her childhood, illustrating her work from poetry or science class. Hatoum studied graphic design at Beirut University College in Lebanon for two years and began working at an advertising agency. Hatoum was displeased with the work. During a visit to London in 1975, civil war broke out in Lebanon and Hatoum was forced into exile, she stayed in London, training at both the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art between the years 1975 and 1981. In the years since, "she has traveled extensively and developed a dynamic art practice that explores human struggles related to political conflict, global inequity, being an outsider."
Hatoum explores a variety of different subject matter via different theoretical frameworks. Her work can be interpreted as a description of the body, as a commentary on politics, on gender and difference as she explores the dangers and confines of the domestic world, her work can be interpreted through the concept of space as her sculpture and installation work depend on the viewer to inhabit the surrounding space to complete the effect. There are always multiple readings to her work; the physical responses that Hatoum desired in order to provoke psychological and emotional responses ensures unique and individual reactions from different viewers. Hatoum's early work consisted of performance pieces that used a direct physical confrontation with an audience to make a political point, she used this technique as a means of making a direct statement using her own body. In her work, she addressed the vulnerability of the individual in relation to the violence inherent in institutional power structures.
Her primary point of reference was the human body, sometimes using her own body. Created in 1988, Measures of Distance illustrates Hatoum's early themes of family and female sexuality; the video piece itself is fifteen minutes long and consists of intimate, colored photographs of Hatoum's mother showering. Hatoum overlays the photographs with letters from her mother to Hatoum; the letters are handwritten in Arabic and compose the themes and the narration of the video that Hatoum is trying to convey. Hatoum's mother, living in Beirut, wrote the letters to Hatoum, living in London, speaks of the difficulty of sending letters in a time of conflict in Lebanon. Hatoum herself reads the letters aloud in both English; the video roots itself in the brief family reunion that occurred in Beirut between Hatoum and her parents in 1981. While about the mother-daughter relationship, in her mother's letters Hatoum's father is mentioned and thus the father-daughter relationship as well as the husband-wife relationship is examined in this video.
The elements of the video—the letters, Hatoum's mother's wish to see her, mentions of the war by Hatoum's mother—explore how the war in Palestine and the war in Lebanon displaced the identity and the relationships of Hatoum and her family. The video meant to be journalistic; the video makes critiques about stereotypes while remaining optimistic, since the narration speaks positively in most of the letters except when speaking about the distance between the mother and daughter. Hatoum attempts to recreate the moment she had with her mother. Instead of showing direct scenes about the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict or the Lebanese civil war, Hatoum shows the dire effects both wars have had on her family relationships and her identity. Displaying cultural and familial displacement, Hatoum distances and draws Western audiences closer through her English and Arabic narration. What is unique about this video is how it is a portrait of a Palestinian woman. Hatoum gives her mother a voice in the video art that otherwise would not have been heard by Western audiences and non-Arabic.
The video attempts to contradict stereotypes made about Arabic women. The Tate Modern describes the portrait in the following words: "It is through the daughter's art-making project that the mother is able to present herself in a form which cements a bond of identity independent of colonial and patriarchal concerns." Measures of Distance is one of the few works done by Hatoum. In other works, Hatoum prefers to leave the work open ended. While not as abstract as many of her other works, the viewer is still forced to work through how to understand the formal elements of the video, they are not given by Hatoum like her narration is. "The video transmits the'paradoxical state of geographical distance and emotional closeness.'"The video was screened at the London Film Festival, AFI National Video Festival, the Montreal Women's Film and Video Festival. Everyday objects, in this case, a common kitchen grater, is transformed into a 204 x 180 x 3.5 cm. enlarged divide alluding to an alienating political divide such as an Israeli built wall in occupied Palestinian territory.
Hot Spot III created in 2009 is a large installation piece of the globe on a tilted angle and is around the size of a person. The title Hot Spot connects to the theme of political unrest