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45th Parallel

by Lawrence Abu Hamdan
UK 2022, 15′
Presented at the 15th edition of Lo schermo dell’arte, 2022
SCREENPLAY: Lawrence Abu Hamdan
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jarred Alterman
EDITING: Inneke Van Waeyenberghe, Jarred Alterman
CAST: Mahdi Fleifel
COMMISSIONED BY: Spike Island, Bristol, the Toronto Biennal, Mercer Union Toronto, The Western Front Vancouver
SOUND: Adam Laschingher
MUSIC: Susan Alcorn Lobato
PRODUCER: LONO Studio: Luke W Moody
45th Parallel, by Jordanian artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, is set inside the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, a unique Victorian building located on the Canada – US border, between Rock Island in Quebec and Derby Line in Vermont. Built in 1904 as a symbol of unity between the two states, it is one of the world’s few cross-border theaters. Anyone can enter, unchecked. A black line on the floor is all that marks the international border. The film is a monologue in four acts, starring Danish-Palestinian director Mahdi Fleifel, who, as often happens in Hamdan’s work, is inspired by a legal matter – the Hernández v. Mesa case. In 2010, 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, unarmed, was shot to death at the Mexican border by a US Border Patrol officer. Each act of the monologue is marked by a change of scenery on the Opera House’s stage. The first painted backdrop is the Grand Canal of Venice, the second a concrete culvert in El Paso – Juárez, site of the Hernández shooting, and the third is an aerial view of Damascus. Following Fleifel’s narrative, each image projects the viewer into different geographical locations. 45th Parallel is a reflection on how borders are not just lines but layered spaces, and reminds us how free movement and freedom of thought are under constant threat
Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Amman, 1985, lives and works in Beirut). His investigations focus on sound and linguistics and have been used as advocacy in court for organizations such as Amnesty International. He has had solo exhibitions at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2021); Secession, Vienna (2020); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2019); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2019); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2018); Hammer Museum, LA (2018). He participated in the 22th Biennale of Sydney, 58th Biennale di Venezia; 13th and 14th Sharjah Biennial.
Selected Filmography
2019 Once Removed; 2018 Walled Unwalled; 2016 Rubber Coated Steel