Arabian Stars, 2005, mixed installation, 38:00 min

Jordi Colomer filmed this work in Yemen. Trained as an architect, Colomer was initially attracted to the country because of its beautiful urban landscapes, and the dearth of visual images and information he was able to gather about it. At the same time, following his arrival there, he was fascinated by how little the Yemenites knew about Western culture.
In this work, local people whom he met on his trips to Sana'a, Shibam, Aden and the desert areas carry signs written in Arabic with the names of Western (and some Yemenite) celebrities and cultural figures. As Colomer explains, the Yemeni "extras" that appear in the film were familiar with some of the Western names appearing on the signs, such as Batman, Bruce Lee, Zidane, Michael Jackson, Maradona and "Pikachu" (their "corrected" version of a banner that originally read "Picasso"). The Yemeni names they were most familiar with were the singer Abo Bakr Saalem, the poets Albaradoni and Al-Zubeiri, and Human Rights Minister Amat Al-Alim Al-Susua.
The title Arabian Stars alludes to the names written on the signs, but also to the Yemeni people who participate in the video. The work is a mixture of fictional, performative and documentary elements that Colomer defines as a "situaction," a term that combines the words "situation," "site" and "action."

G. L.

Jordi Colomer - born in Spain, 1962

 

 


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