For their new double-channel video Remembering the Light, they dive deep into the Mediterranean. The work introduces the seabed as an underwater landscape of ruin in which history has been stranted in the sand. Here, time seems to have come to a standstill. However, it is also a place in which light, and by corollary the image, as we know it on land, is subjected to different laws of physics. On one screen, a brightly coloured scarf sinks slowly deeper into the water. As it travels, it passes a school of fish, a tank, an ambulance and a shipwreck resting on the ocean floor : traces of war, life, work. It becomes a guide to a scrambled chronology of events that have happened on the surface.
The other screen shows us an image of the city's shore filmed through the waves; the city and its blood-red sky echo the horizon in Waiting for the Barbarians. Then, a celestial shot of a flock of birds before we see close-ups of the faces of five people in a rubber boat. We are reminded of the grainy found footage of boats off the Aegean coast in ISMYRNA and more current attempts of escape from war zones across the Mediterranean.
It is unclear who these people are and what their relationship to each other is, or what they are doing on this boat. Did they come from this unnamed city in the distance, or are they trying to reach it ? Their looks are introverted and contemplative, not the cheer of holidaymakers, nor the trepidation of refugees.
Catalogue Joana Hadjithomas Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset, edition Koening Books Ltd, 2018