It’s an exciting time for documentarians and I am proud to part of this movement. I encourage all to take a look at two recent Variety articles that highlight the move from audiences to absorb the documentary form in new ways (predominantly streaming) and the artists who have evolved over time.
> Audience Demand for Documentary Features Grows Across Platforms
Netflix’s six-part series, Wormwood, is brilliant. This is the documentary I’ve been waiting years to see hit popular culture. Wormwood fits perfectly into the grey area at the intersection of fiction and reality. And I am proud to argue against the critics who claim this series is anything other than the most inventive documentary they have seen in ages.
Before you jump to the conclusion that I am an Errol Morris super fan – check out my previous post on Gates of Heaven. I fell asleep and complained about the film being a waste of my time.
Now, back to the gushing …
Impeccable story telling
inventive camera angles (I read there were 10 per an interview)
seamless transitions from collage, to text, to dramatic interpretation, to interview
props for the continuous comparison to Hamlet
excellent usage and collection of archival materials
I could go on and on but, I’m sure you are just about ready to sign on to Netflix and binge watch the series. So, without wasting anyones time :
DRINK PAIRING: Prosecco! This calls for a celebration. Pass the bubbly.
Show Description: This landmark retrospective will include Hassan Sharif’s diverse body of work from the early 1970s to 2016. This retrospective is the culmination of Sharif’s long and storied history with the Emirate of Sharjah, where he first began staging interventions and exhibitions of contemporary art.
If you are in the area (Sharjah, UAE) from now until Feb. 3rd 2018, drop everything you are doing and go see this exhibition. It’s a rare opportunity to see all of the work from the artist Hassan Sharif in one place. It is almost like the six galleries were made for his one man show. He was one step ahead of his time. Hassan Sharif worked in found object installations, sculpture, book art, painting, performance and multimedia. I can’t say enough positive exclamations about this retrospective. I can’t help but feel like there won’t be another opportunity to see all of his work in one place. I just reviewed the corresponding documentary at DIFF with equal excitement. The studio workspace pictured in the documentary was captured and moved in its entirety to the Sharjah Art Foundation.
Don’t be confused by the name: Alserkal Avenue. It’s not an avenue in the typical sense of the word but rather a conglomerate of art warehouses in one walkable space. It is amazing. This was my first trip to the galleries in the warehouse district of Dubai but, it will not be my last.
The space includes established studios, artists residences, places to eat, and pop up shops. It’s in a constant state of evolution. There are young people here interested in supporting and promoting the arts. Everyone I visited in the galleries are friendly and talkative. To make me even happier, there weren’t many people around on Friday midday (holy day here).
Dubai design week is not just for working professionals. It is a celebration of art and design for the entire public sphere. There are talks and workshops and exhibitions. There will be something available when you have time this week.
I was pulled away from my planned itinerary by a Ms. Paula Zuccotti. I will be documenting her documentation. I will post an update later but, I want to encourage one and all to stop by while you have a chance to participate yourself.
For more information check out the website @DubaiDesignWeek:
Designed by Paula Zuccotti // 13 – 18 November // 10am – 9pm Ground Floor, Building 6, Dubai Design District
Paula’s exhibition ‘Every Thing We Touch – Dubai Design Week’ will explore the cultures that make up Dubai, using everyday artifacts as the storytellers, and examining the similarities and differences of these objects. Many things we know about past civilizations are gleaned from the insights gathered through their objects. Paula’s art of future archeology reflects on the customs, traditions and behaviours of the different people and cultures of Dubai through the physical footprint of the objects they interact with in a day.
SIDE NOTE FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT IN THE AREA >>> keep your eyeballs peeled! Hopefully one day Paula will decide to visit and document the neighborhood that you live in – your family and friends. She is on the move all over the globe so, when this becomes your reality, you must participate.
Last week was Abu Dhabi Art Week. I was fortunate enough to snag a seat on a bus heading from Alserkal Avenue in Dubai to Abu Dhabi and back. They offered this amazing experience, with a ticket into the event and tour, for free! Keep your eyes peeled for these kinds of experiences at : http://alserkalavenue.ae/en/index.php. (No, I do not work for them. I just appreciate their community outreach that much.)
As you can see, the art was inspiring. I just want to start creating when I am surrounded by all this art. Some pieces I though were more successful than others but, it was a good time all around. Since I haven’t credited each artist individually, please see the website for more information about the galleries and artist participating: https://www.abudhabiart.ae/en/default.aspx
I can’t wait until Art Week – Dubai – UAE March 14-24 2018. Mark your calendars now and check out their website for more information: http://www.artweek.ae.
I can’t give enough positive feedback for the show “Lest We Forget”. It’s the brainchild of Dr. Michele Bambling.
Lest We Forget is a major grassroots arts and heritage initiative that aims to archive, preserve and share vernacular photographs and oral histories of the UAE through its website, workshops and exhibitions. Newly launched under the auspices of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Lest We Forget is a community-based initiative that welcomes public participation.
This is the best ethnographic exhibition that I have seen in a very long time. The show has since closed but, I am hoping that it opens up in another location. I will support the researchers and artists who are in this exhibition in any way possible. The event was extended once and that is the only reason that I was able to attend in the first place. I walked out inspired and with one of the handmade books about the project (pictured above).
There are still ways to support the project and participate.
I am returning to the Doc & a Drink blog as I travel to a new space. I am working in the United Arab Emirates as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the American University of Sharjah. I think this is a good opportunity to speak the word about art & media here. There is a lot of growth in the arts in UAE. And you get to experience this growth with me.
As I gather “DSLR gadgets” for a feature doc pitch shoot in September, I’ve come across some really great gear. I’ll keep pointing out DSLR gear that’s not only aimed at the video shooter but, received excellent reviews.