Title sequence to a film that never was
by Asuf Ishaq

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Asuf Ishaq’s practice is concerned with themes of embodiment, fragmentation, displacement, migration, and memory. Often presenting the physical diasporic body as an evolving archive of memory, that transmits experience with cultural and political meaning. Unravelling geographical places, and narratives to reveal new meanings, and draw out personal histories. Ishaq employs fiction, non-fiction,archive, personal memories and technology. Working with words and images to explore the conditions under which the subject of language and desire is made present but also eludes our grasp. He works with moving image, sound, photography, installation and sculpture.

For Stryx VR Residency Pilot, Ishaq has been using the time to make new work, and reworking previous material. This residency has provided him an opportunity to continue developing his art practice. Conceptually, he draws inspiration from Édouard Glissant’s writing, specifically
Poetics of Relation, his conception of Rhizomatic and hybridity, trace and fluid identity, and ideas of rootedness and uprootedness. Ishaq’s approach to making is ‘hybridity’ or hybrid forms, just as he navigates through his hybrid cultural identity. Ishaq’s way of work can be seen as archeology, digging up knowledge that the dominant culture overlooks.

In his show Ishaq presents three films, as outcomes of his residency. 

Title Sequence To a Film That Never Was (2 mins film). This work is a relationship with text, image and sound. This film is a work in progress, list will grow over time as Ishaq recalls the names of everyone he has known. Glissant’s principle behind what he calls the ‘Relation’, in which each and every identity is extended through a relationship with the other. Film reflects on my cultural identity, all the people in his life from Pakistan and England.

Things That Did Not Travel (10 min film) is the main work created during the residency. Ishaq wants to take his ideas of expressing migration experience further. His mothers belongs, he is re-enacting, and helping his mother to preserve objects and things. The film explores the relationship with things, and especially during displacement through migration, the broken connections but the promise and desire to be reunited. Things that possess life of their own, and personal meaning for the owner, they become precious just as people.

Crossing (2 minute film). In this piece Ishaq captures his mother’s story of a traumatic boat journey, a river crossing to Kashmir, through the Jhelum river and Mangla Dam. By remembering together, his mothers memory of the event, and of his own as a boys’ perspective. Ishaq explores storytelling and aligning multiple memories or bodily experiences. Film focuses on the story without distractions, subtitles become central to translate the words.

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