By CASEY KNOX Published October 30, 2013 at 2:17am
Through a series of videos, Exploded View’s microCINEMA in downtown Tucson aims to showcase stories by Syrian artists and Syrians in exile that they feel need to be told.
This Wednesday, David Sherman, Exploded View’s founder, is showing videos that have been curated by a media arts organization in the Netherlands called Impakt, which collects Syrian work.
“There’s not a huge Syrian art community in the United States, but that’s the beauty of the Internet,” Sherman said.
In an intimate venue, audience members will be able to openly discuss the issues presented on the screen, he added.
“We wanted to highlight a creative response to a serious war situation,” Sherman said. The civil unrest in Syria began in 2011, and has since inspired Syrian artists and those in exile to tell their personal stories in the form of short clips and videos.
Sherman and his wife, Rebecca Barten, coined the term “microcinema” in 1994. The first microcinema was established in San Francisco in 1994 and was called Total Mobile Home microCINEMA. Sherman moved to Tucson in 2012, where he introduced Exploded View.
“It’s less about the big audience and more about how people connect with the material,” Sherman said.
Christian Sinclair, a scholar of Middle Eastern studies, will be flying in to help create an intimate dialogue with audience members about specific Syrian issues expressed though the videos. Sinclair will be able to explain the Syrian conflicts to those who may be unfamiliar with their history, as well as the content provided in the videos.
“The issues are complex, and these underrepresented voices are coming to the foreground,” Sherman said.
Sherman said that these videos will give people a unique way to view issues in Syria, as the work strays from being purely documentary-driven and objective and tends toward narrative stories.
The videos will have a range of aesthetics, from animation to diary work, and each will be unique in terms of their structure, Sherman added.
“Our interest is to combine experimental media with other veins of creativity which are currently happening in Tucson,” he said.
Susan Stryker, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies and a local filmmaker, met Sherman for the first time when she was screening her own works at the Playground Bar and Lounge. Stryker worked with Sherman in his microcinema to present an LGBTQ film to the Tucson community during LGBT History Month in October.
“There’s a lot of work happening in the film and media industry that’s not commercial,” Stryker said. “There’s some really important and interesting work that’s out there.”
Stryker said that the film and the works presented in Sherman’s microcinema are able to give the Tucson community a different perspective on the world that they live in.
Although Sherman’s microcinema is targeted toward a smaller audience, Stryker said the films presented are politically, artistically and intellectually charged.
“As a filmmaker, I’m just really excited to see this kind of space in Tucson,” she said. “They really want to be a hub for the experimental and small film market community.”