Omer Fast, 'Nostalgia.' Three-part film installation at the South London Gallery

IssueNovember 2009
Review by Susan Clarkson

This installation by the young, internationally-acclaimed Jerusalem-born Fast presents an original and often disturbing insight into the plight of asylum seekers and their struggle to be heard.

One film depicts an asylum seeker from a dystopian Britain seeking asylum in Africa. The preceding two films show, respectively, a dramatised interview between the artist and an asylum seeker in London, and a brief piece of original footage.

The films are five, 10 and 30 minutes in length, beginning with the shortest, and are presented in three different darkened areas. The short walk from one to the other is, in itself, an experience of disorientation.

In the press release from the gallery, it is pointed out that the primary subject matter for this exhibition is revealed to be the process and impact of film making as a medium for story telling. The three films certainly invite reflection on how fact and fiction blend in film making and story telling and how this blending can, at the same time, both reveal and conceal reality.

However, a visit to Peckham to see this installation is well worth the effort for anyone who is at all involved in the situation of asylum seekers. Time spent watching the films several times over will raise questions and, more importantly, tap into feelings about powerlessness, desperation and manipulation.

Topics: Culture, Refugees
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