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Article by Visual Artist / researcher Khaled Hafez 2014

Inspired by several uprisings for a period of three years, “Clockwise” is a short film written, directed and produced by the Egyptian visual artist and filmmaker Sameh Al Tawil in 2014. Along the duration of the film, the artist poses several philosophical questions during 6 minutes, using a cinematic language that relies on corporal expressions and hard-cuts. With extreme shots taken from below the ground or from above his subjects, the viewer is entangled in shots that are much reminiscent of feature film classics that incorporated the narrative and the experimental, like Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, especially those scenes that involved movement without dialogue. The artist’s choice for the use of Black and White accentuates the visual narrative and renders each scene as an exquisite photograph that tells its own story, with each frame possessing its own space and time. The outcome of this sublime visual research is an abstract narrative that transcends culture, language, dialogue and geography.

Clockwise, as the description suggests, represents movement is a very precise and specific direction. The clockwise movement throws resemblance to the religious circumambulatory movements practiced by pilgrims and Sufis in spiritual practices, except that all such practices are –actually—anti-clockwise. All movement in such case can be perceived as a sign of infinite confusion, and hence the artist also indirectly refers to the absolute obscurity through which political factions operate, moving round and round in void circles. Here, notions of the finite, the infinite, life, death and continuity are touched upon by choreography that displays repetition of movement, frame composition that explores open space and its inhabitants, color scheme that spans the challenging hues of shadow and light, and the brilliant mystic music score that weaves all scenes together.

‘ CLOCKWISE ’ Short film by Sameh Al Tawil

to premiere in Munich Fine Art Academy, Germany, 5-9 Feb. 2014

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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.
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