What is the Weight of the Moon?
Screening and discussion Nabil Ahmed: a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy.
Wednesday 2 February 2011, 7-9pm
Free Cinema School Salon
Centre for Possible Studies
64 Seymour Street London W1H 5BW
Nabil Ahmed took the title for What is the Weight of the Moon? from The Middleman, a film by Satyajit Rai forming part of a cycle of films that reflects on the political implications of being a student in Calcutta during the 1970s. Ahmed’s project is a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy. Through the medium of film, What is the Weight of the Moon? explores the low visibility of the colleges, which are often identified only by ambiguous-looking signboards in the east London area, and the near-invisibility of their students.
Originally conceived as a two-channel video installation consisting of a video essay and a set of edited interviews, Ahmed’s work places student interviewees outside the frame. The viewer is invited to become an active listener by controlling a three-channel audio mixer to hear field recordings and simultaneous translations of the interviews in Bengali and English.
For the Free Cinema School salon, the videos will be screened separately and will be accompanied by an artist-led presentation and discussion, mapping the various strands of the project, from the Bengali language movement to anti-documentary techniques and the neoliberalisation of education. Respondents will include student activists.
Nabil Ahmed is currently a PhD student at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths. His practice involves working with people, software, video, spoken word and text to form critical responses to relevant political questions. He has collaborated with various galleries, project spaces and institutions, including the Victoria & Albert, no.w.here, Wet Sounds, Waterside Project Space, The Showroom and openvizor. He is the co-founder of Call & Response, London’s first multi-channel sound art gallery and project space.