The basic function of Arabic subtitles in a foreign film is translation. The subtitle works within the context of the film as a narration to the story as well as an explanation of the action that accompanies it. As such, the impact of the picture precedes that of the subtitle and creates the framework for it.
When removed from the context of the film, and re-exported with the image of the film still, the function of the subtitle is transformed from confirming meaning to actually producing it. It is re-born as a unique source of content, with no past or alternative function.
The basic function for the Arabic language associated with a foreign language film shown on the screen... is translation. It works in the context of the film as a narration of the story and an explanation of the action that accompanies it ... and thus the meaning of the picture precedes that of the language and specifies it.
The language, when deducted from its cruel context and re-exported with the image of the new still captured photo, changes its function from confirming the meaning to producing it, by transforming itself to a unique source of new mental images with no past or function.
Ihramaat is a concept born out of a defining tradition and custom adopted during the holy Hajj pilgrimage. In this series, Daydban uses authentic Ihramat, the customary white cloth worn by pilgrims to Makkah, stretched onto wooden frames and presents them in multiple variations. Traditionally, every man performing his pilgrimage is required to wear white cloth. It erases any distinguishing features between himself and his neighbor and presents them as one, stripped down to their purest form, all equal and united under the same faithful brotherhood.
At a distance, the ihram seems identical as they are of the same scale and essentially plain white cloth, but as you approach, distinct patterns begin to appear. Parallels can be drawn between the piece and social ideals, whereby each panel represents a building block in society. Various groups share differences and similarities in their patterning, yet work together under a grater umbrella to flow in peace and harmony.
Borders, flags and other symbols of belonging and identity continuously infuse Ayman Yossri’s oeuvre. For the last 10 years, the artist has been constructing and deconstructing the Palestinian flag, reflecting on a shifting understanding of identity and exile, in a process of constant redefinitions.
Ayman belongs nowhere. His Palestinian identity is fragmented and has lost its form and meaning. His flags are, at times, devoid of colours, reflective metal sheets shaped by the sheer force of his body, showing, in the various phases of unfolding, the effort of the human being to break free from the narrow stereotypes which are imposed on him. At other instances, these flags are pieces of paper and recycled objects, hessian bags painted red, all reflecting on a flag ‘empty’ of ideals, representing the politics of national identity in a globalized world.
The series Maharem originated from the tissue box which middle to lower income families traditionally exhibit in their sitting room for their guests’ convenience. These boxes are usually lavishly decorated with velvet and kitsch gold rims and are often considered decorative masterpieces, a source of pride to the lady of the house. The artist physically manipulates the tissue box, ripping it bare of the comfort of the velvet coating. He then prints movie imagery onto the rough wood, overlaying the scenes and portraits with the direct language of popular sayings, proverbs and riddles.
In Azkiya’a Laken Aghbiya’a, Daydban covers the boxes with fragments of film imagery – actors faces and shreds of titles, subtitles and names. The artist uses the language of fractured montage to reference the saturation of conflicting messaging we receive on a daily basis. Similar to a previous work entitled Love (2013), there is a visual harmony to the work when viewed from a distance, yet on closer inspection we are confronted with discord and uneasy interjections. The artist is commenting on notions of identity, he believes that societies in the Arab world are currently on an unknown trajectory – whilst waters seemingly move in one direction, underlying are currents of uncertainty and unrest. There is a suspense surrounding thoughts and notions of the future, the countries’ identities are being redefined and yet not one person is clear or in control of the proposed or possible conclusion. The only reliable constant in this world being the empathy between us, one for the other.
Without light, there is no vision. But to what degree is vision a reflection of reality?
Scientists and philosophers have extensively researched the relationship between light, vision and reality. While we know that different areas of the brain deal with colour, form, motion and texture, our visual system remains too limited to tackle all of the information our eyes take in. And so our minds take shortcuts.
Moreover, since light takes time to reach our eyes, then in reality, the world we perceive is somewhat in the past. And so our minds make predictions in order to perceive the present.
Therefore, how can what one experiences be a direct representation of his/her surroundings? How can reality be real?
Ayman Yossri’s installation of 8 screens consists of compilations of stills from a plethora of movies, documentaries, news report, etc., recorded and played at very high speed. The visual outcome is akin to seeing moving shades of light.
Behind the light of every screen, Ayman Yossri is visually narrating moments, events, stories that have shaped his life, that of others, the region and beyond. The work builds itself into a kind of artist manifesto, broadcasted to the wider public but revealed to none.
From the My Father Over The Tree series
Cinemas have been illegal in Saudi since 1980s, when conservative clerics deemed them a corrupt influence.
Ayman Yossri Daydban takes old Egyptian film posters and re-enacts systems of censorship used by the public in Saudi in the 70s, when mud was used to cover areas of posters deemed unacceptable. The work questions the line between censorship and abolition whilst being reminiscent of language once accessible to the general public and media that shaped the artist’s own childhood, contributed to his emotional development and creative practice.
From the My Father Over The Tree series
From the Room series
I have never imagined that my first kiss would be a mere picture. However, there was nothing we could do, living in the eighties under what was known as the religious awakening; the one which shed darkness on all the outlets of a normal life in the name of religion. Here we are today suffering the results of this ill-fated awakening through an unprecedented religious extremism. Despite this context, we succeeded as teenagers at that time in bringing in and exchanging everything clandestinely and secretly and absolutely no one could prevent us from living! This first kiss was life even if it were transient.
From the Room series
The artist created the work during a period of his life in which he had experienced the trials and tribulations of separation, and there after divorce. Exploring his emotional state with a series of work that depict the anxiety, frustration and confusion he had experienced during this time.