Lost in Space

2005 | 17mins | Colour
By Mieke Bal & Shahram Entekhabi

Genre: Experimental Documentary
Multi-lingual with English subtitles



The problem of communication in a world of displacement

When asked in English what he missed most about being away from home, an Iranian long-term asylum seeker burst into his native Farsi and said that, of all the things he sorely missed, the primary thing was his language. This remark triggered the aesthetic of this experimental film.

The film tears apart the different manifestations of language. First, in an extensive credit sequence, all speakers are shown saying what they say in the film. But only their mouths and hands speak; no voice is heard, only street noise. When the film proper begins, we hear the voices and see, in yet a different manifestation of speech, the translated utterances in screen-filling typescript.

The discrepancy between what we see, read, and hear addresses the problem of language in the contemporary world of displacement. Like that world, language is out of sync.

Lost in Space appeared at the following:
- Brandeis University, in the context of a seminar “Trauma and Art” by Gannit Ankori, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass., USA, 12th March 2014
- exhibition “Towards the Other,” Peter & Paul Fortress, St Petersburg, Russia, 10-29 October 2011
- Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria, October 12, 2010
- Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK, December 11, 2009
- European University, St. Petersburg, Russia, October 22, 2009
- Exhibition “Going the Distance: Video Works in Migratory Aesthetics.” Tampere Art Museum, Tampere, Finland, December 5, 2008 – February 15, 2009
- “Culture and Citizenship”, CRESC, Hugh College, Open University, Oxford, UK, September 3, 2008
- University of Washington Program Study Abroad, seminar, August 9, 2008
- 10th International Documentary Film Festival Jihlava, Jihlava, Czech Republic, October 2006
- 19th Annual Images Festival of Independent Film & Video, Vtape, Toronto, April 15 – May 27, 2006; October 24–29, 2006
- MASS MoCA Museum for Contemporary Arts, North Adams, MA, April 8, 2006
- International Contemporary Art Experts Forum (ARCO), Madrid, February 10, 2006
- “BEOGRAD NEKAD I SAD” exhibition, Galerija Beograd, Belgrade, September – October 2005

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