Sunday, 31 July 2011

On The Floor by Jennifer Lopez hacked my mind. Saima has been playing it over and over again for the last two days!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

oh! and one of the girls gave me this pretty present:

Ramadan starts on Monday, there are school holiday and we have more time to play around. Today we spent over 3 hours painting, internet surfing and making jewellery out of a bag of beads I found in one of my drawers. It's good to see all that collected stuff that used to travel with me from one flat to another finally being used.

One of the girls is writing her first story for the film. She said she was half way through. I also have a deal with one of the teenagers. He can paint my face (god knows into what!) if he writes a story about the painted version of me.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

This week I started collecting stories for the film we are going to make on the Leopold Estate. I hope to involve my neighbours in the process of script writing and shooting the film. I've been thinking a lot about where and how to start and decided that I'll write letters to everyone. I'll also make few posters, which I'll hang around the building. I'll ask the girl that live next door to translate it into Bengali for me.

I also realised it's going to be a much longer and more difficult process then I had expected. First of all, saying that "it's our film" or "it can be yours as much as mine" doesn't really work. And why should it be, really... The outcome for other people isn't that clear, at least not at this stage. It will probably change once we have more material.

There is also a practical issue that I only realised after my recent trip to Morocco. Involving my neighbours in reenactment might be a problem. Here is a bit of information on that:
It's nothing to worry about though. We can keep modifying the form of this film until it's relevant to our setting. The priority is not only to make a work of art, but also to use art to help the community that lives around.

Monday, 25 July 2011

I kept the door wide open this evening (as some of my neighbours do), and my flat filled up with children. There's not much to do on the grey and narrow walkway that acts as a play ground for most of them.

I found a box of old glass paints and asked them if they wanted to paint glasses and jars to make candle holders. Most of them loved the idea and soon we had a working team. It was over 10 of my little friends. The number seems to be growing recently, including brothers, sisters and cousins.

I put pillows on the floor so we could have few extra seats. They said that it was bad to sit on something you put your head on, or sleep on. I explained that they come from my armchair and that we always use them as a seat in this flat. They said that it didn't matter, it was still not ok in terms of Islam. I brought a mat and blanket instead...

At the end of the day one of the girls said that I'm doing her dream job, that her dream is to be an artist. She said she can't paint at home because her mum says it's messy. I told her that she can always do it at my place, that we use it as a studio, and I don't mind if it gets messy... Then I gave her an origami book and paper, saying that this would probably be ok for her to use at home as it's not messy at all. She started saying thank you...many times...she said that it was so important for her.... in the moments like that I feel that what I do here makes sense.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

These are two very short videos from the same evening. I filmed one of the boys decorating my house. Red tape with my name on it was his idea. The second video catches some of the atmosphere during the quiz.

Long overdue images from PARTY, an event that took place at my flat in June. Previous posts show images of preparation for it. Here are few that were taken on the day.

We had amazing time and lot's of my neighbours came to have food, watch the film and take part in a quiz. We were joined by a group of artists - friends of mine. I kept the number of invited artists quite low ( 15 to 20). I didn't want my neighbours to feel intimidated by a large group of strangers. Many of the adults that live around don't speak English, and I wanted them to feel comfortable at my place.

We had fun! Bengali food was prepared by me and my neighbours. They taught me how to cook it. It was delicious and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I was worried about people not turning up, but I guess involving them in the process of preparation helped a lot.

At the beginning of the evening the group of artists sat on a carpet in the living room and neighbours stayed in the kitchen, but as the evening went on the dynamics shifted a little bit. The quiz was the highlight of the evening and I almost got knocked down by kids claiming their prizes!

There will be more events like this in the future. The next one will probably take place in September.