Cinema of the Everyday
vqueeram + Vishal Jugdeo
Stephanie Comilang
Sara Sadik
Morgan Quaintance

To mark the closing of He Xiangyu's exhibition, CCA Berlin presents Cinema of the Everyday, a screening of four recently produced films and videos by vqueeram and Vishal Jugdeo, Stephanie Comilang, Sara Sadik, and Morgan Quaintance. Through forms of cinematic expression that range from collage and machinima to traditional documentary, the works capture and engage aesthetics and affects of the mundane and the everyday amid different manifestations and conditions of planetary crises, and assert the urgency of community, solidarity, and interdependence in the face of alienation.

vqueeram and Vishal Jugdeo, Does Your House Have Lions, Filmstill, 48', 2021. Courtesy the artists.

Stephanie Comilang, Diaspora Ad Astra, Film still, 2020. Courtesy the artist.

Does Your House Have Lions (48 min, 2021) is an experimental documentary by the Delhi-based poet vqueeram and Los Angeles-based artist Vishal Jugdeo, the latest iteration of their ongoing, transoceanic collaborative practice and friendship. Shot in Delhi, Bombay, and Goa, the film follows vqueeram and their housemates Dhiren Borisa, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Andre Ling—friends, lovers, and co-conspirators in activism and survival—against a four-year backdrop of turbulent political developments throughout India.

Stephanie Comilang's Diaspora Ad Astra (5 min, 2020) is a fictional, short video told from the perspective of a Filipino seafarer. There are 400,000 seamen from the Philippines, working in a profession that helps move 90 percent of global trade. Under brutal conditions, these men can make ten times more than they earn at home. They sign contracts for seven to ten months, leaving behind their families, with whom these migrant laborers struggle to maintain a connection due to the scarcity and unreliability of internet connectivity onboard. While making this video, stories of ships not allowed to dock in their home ports due to fears of the spread of coronavirus proliferated in the news. What is it like to see your home in front of you but be unable to return to it?

A love story set in Grand Theft Auto V exploring masculinity in Maghrebi Marseille, Khtobtogone (18 min, 2021) by artist Sara Sadik is the intimate portrait of Zine, a 20 years old man in a quest of becoming the best version of himself, before asking for his girlfriend’s hand. Khtobtogone depicts his daily life, love story and friendships as well as emotional roller-coasters, torments and inner demons he has to continuously manage in order to regain self-confidence, self-love and self-esteem. Khtobtogone is inspired by real-life stories and words of Ahmed Ra’ad Al Hamid and Brian Chiappeta.

Letter from Sapporo (35 min, 2021) is a collage film offering a glimpse of daily life in the Japanese city of Sapporo. Commissioned for S-AIR’s 2020 international residency programme (that became virtual due to the global pandemic), Morgan Quaintance responded by inviting city residents to be his eyes and ears, and to shoot footage in his place. The resulting film is the product of approximately 16 participants capturing material with their smartphones. Focusing on moments of stillness, intimacy, labor and humor, disparate material is wedded into a compelling and coherent whole by Quaintance’s subtle editing, original music and vivid sound design.

vqueeram is a writer, researcher, and teacher. They are interested in sex, feeling, and living/dying in their relations with forms of sociality, law, and politics. At the Center for Law and Policy Research, Bengaluru, vqueeram teaches a course on intersectionality for various law schools in the country, and participates in research and policy work on the rights and concerns of the trans community in India. They have taught, given talks, seminars, and workshops extensively, and their writing has been featured in The Shortline Review, The White Review, Frieze, Huffington Post India, Akademi Magazine, and The Wire among other publications and contexts.

Vishal Jugdeo is an interdisciplinary artist who works with video, installation, performance, and sculpture to construct experimental approaches to narrative. His work examines how nuances of power, intimacy, and meaning-making are expressed between people. Solo exhibitions have been held at 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (2016); ICA Philadelphia (2014); LA><ART (2008); and Western Front, Vancouver (2005). Selected group exhibitions have been held at ICA Philadelphia (2014); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (2014); Performa 13, New York (2014); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); and Witte De With Center for Contemporary Arts, Rotterdam (2011).

Stephanie Comilang is an artist living and working between Toronto and Berlin. Her documentary based works create narratives that look at how our understandings of mobility, capital and labor on a global scale are shaped through various cultural and social factors. Her work has been shown at Transmediale Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof, Tai Kwun Hong Kong, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Tate Modern, and Haus der Kunst, Munich. She was awarded the 2019 Sobey Art Award, Canada’s most prestigious art prize for artists 40 years and younger. Diaspora Ad Astra (2020) has been commissioned by TBA21–Academy with the support of Institut Kunst HGK FHNW in Basel.

Sara Sadik lives and works in Marseille. Her work practice combining video, music performance, installation, and photography and explores what she calls “beurcore”: the youth culture that has sprung up among working-class French youths of Maghrebi descent. She was in residence at Triangle France—Astérides (Marseille, 2018) and at the Luma Foundation (Arles, 2021). Some of her works are already present in public collections, like the Cnap, the Frac Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA, the Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Morgan Quaintance is a London-based artist and writer. His moving image work has been shown and exhibited widely with presentations in 2020 including: Curtas Vila Do Conje, Portugal at which he received the Best Experimental Film Award, and CPH:DOX at which he received the New Vision Award, both for the film South (2020); Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany; European Media Art Festival, Germany; Alchemy Film and Arts Festival, Scotland;  Images Festival, Toronto; International Film Festival Rotterdam; Punto de Vista Festival in Pamplona, Spain;  and Third Horizon Film Festival, Miami. Over the past ten years, his writings on contemporary art and aesthetics have featured in publications including Art Monthly, The Wire, and The Guardian.

Sara Sadik, Khtobtogone, Film still, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Crèvecœur, Paris.

Morgan Quaintance, Letter from Sapporo, Film still, 2021. Courtesy the artist.