Access Denied

2005 | 30mins | Colour
By Mieke Bal, Thomas Sykora & Gary Ward

Genre: Documentary
Multi-lingual with English subtitles

Where you come from decides where you’re allowed to go

Ihab (31), a Palestinian academic living in Amsterdam, is preparing to travel to visit his family in Gaza for the first time in four years, and do some fieldwork. Gary (28), an Irish artist also living in Amsterdam, intends to accompany Ihab and film the reunion with his family, the interviews with informants, and the progress of Ihab’s project: to study the cultural memory in Palestine of al nakba, the catastrophe of 1948. While they prepare for the trip, Ihab and Gary become closer. But, once they arrive in Cairo airport, Ihab’s arrest and deportation separates the two.

From here on, the film alternates vistas of the two men’s trip. While Ihab conducts his research with determination and commitment, Gary is flooded by his first encounter with Arabic culture. He turns around in circles, having nothing to do but wait until he can fly back to Amsterdam. Ihab, in contrast, works frantically, but cannot leave on the planned date, since Israel has closed the borders.

The film uses the metaphors of travel and failed encounters for a meditative reflection on the intercultural encounter between Arabic and Western individuals eager, but not always able, to understand each other.

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M.G. Bal
IBAN: NL85ABNA0949591297

Gustav Mahlerlaan 10
1082 PP Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Access Denied appeared at the following:
- Exhibition “Towards the Other,” Peter & Paul Fortress, St Petersburg, Russia, 10-29 October 2011 (with catalogue)
- Exhibition “Going the Distance: Video Works in Migratory Aesthetics.” Tampere Art Museum, Tampere, Finland, December 5, 2008 – February 15, 2009
- “Exhibition Going the Distance: Video Works in Migratory Aesthetics.” Fremantle Fibonacci Centre, Fremantle, Australia, December 12 – 21, 2008
- Conference “Culture and Citizenship”, CRESC, Hugh College, Open University, Oxford, UK, September 3, 2008
- University of Washington Program Study Abroad, seminar, August 9, 2008
- “ANTI-EKONOMIJA ŽIVOTA” film program, Belgrade, Serbia, July 16–21, 2007
- Bucharest Biennale 3. In “Dis-economy of Life” program. Bucharest, Romania, June 21–25, 2007
- Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest, Hungary, November 15, 2006
- Studio Dauhaus, Sofia, Bulgaria, November 4, 2006
- “BEOGRAD NEKAD I SAD” exhibition, Galerija Beograd, Belgrade, September – October 2005
- Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia, October 27 – November 9, 2006
- M-art & Barutana, Murseum of Contemporary Arts, Skopje, Macedonia, October 10, 2006
- 6PM,’DIS-ECONOMY OF LIFE’ Klub Kulture, Mazuranicev Trg 1, 48260 Križevci and Osijek, Croatia, M-art & Barutana, October 2006
- Udruga UKE – Urbana kultura I edukacija (Urban Culture and Education), Križevci, Croatia, September 24, 2006
- Art Gallery of the College of Staten Island, Staten Island, NY, March 3 - 10, 2005