Whitstable Biennale 2008Festival of Contemporary Visual Art
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Desert track, still from Al-Ani's film
Desert track, still from Al-Ani's film

Jananne Al-Ani
The Guide and Flock

Desert track, still from Al-Ani's film

Sea Container, Main Beach

Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 - 18:00

The Guide and Flock form a two screen video work installed in a sea container on Whitstable's main beach.  The films are part of a new body of work Al-Ani is developing which explores the disappearance of the body in the contested landscapes of the Middle East.

As a desolate desert track comes in to focus on a large screen, an unidentified man walks away from the camera, eventually fading into the distance.  In contrast, a postcard-sized monitor shows a herd of sheep grazing on the edge of a busy highway. The calm image is interrupted repeatedly by heavy traffic passing closely in the foreground.  The work draws us into the nineteenth-century Orientalist stereotype of the desert as an unoccupied site while playing on the biblical figure of the lonely shepherd and his flock. 

Jananne Al-Ani is based in London.  She has exhibited widely in Britain and abroad including recent solo shows at Art Now, Tate Britain, London and the Norwich Gallery. Recent group exhibitions include The Screen-Eye or the New Image: 100 videos to rethink the world, Casino Luxembourg; Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking, MoMA, New York; Around the World in Eighty Days, ICA, London and Why Pictures Now: Film, Photography, Video at the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna.