UN-CHARTING, 2023 - Ongoing

Un-Charting is an ongoing multi-media project consisting of two parts: an immersive 3D animated documentary film and a platform for collaboratively developed public programming. Upon entering the work, visitors walk on an enlarged unrealized 19-century British urban plan for a New Jerusalem. This space is dedicated to the public programs (whose content and titles change). From there, they enter a simulator room, where the 17-minute highly saturated film is presented on a 180-degree curved screen. Through the layering of historical sources and contemporary documentary footage, the simulator film (whose title, Un-Charting, is used by the project as a whole) critically examines the ideological imbrication – past and present – of conservative American Evangelism, British imperialism, and Zionism. Centered on religious and political constructions of the “Promised Land,” the project  investigates how messianic myths travel across time and geography, manifesting in colonial violence and attempts at indigenous erasure in Palestine and beyond. The public programming carves out a space for countering settler-colonial narratives while radically imagining ourselves into equitable worlds beyond destructive myths. Combined, the two elements of the work address the global effects of imperial and colonial imagination, asking viewers to reflect on the ongoing implications of Western territorial conquest, occupation, partitions, imperial cartography – and, especially, on the role that instrumentalized theological fantasies play in actual state sanctioned violence. Un-Charting was recently on view at the James Gallery CUNY Graduate Center, NYC (March 9th-June 4th, 2023).

Un-Charting ,  3D animation film still

UN-CHARTING, simulator film  & archive

The simulator film Un-Charting is, at core, a documentary. Approaching the genre critically, the 17-minute film weaves narrated 19th-century documents together with interviews and footage that I began recording in 2017. These sources are displayed in annotated museum cases that are encountered by viewers before they enter the immersive 180-degree video installation, informing the experience of a film that appropriates science fiction aesthetics with precise historical context. By combining the seemingly contradictory forms, the project addresses the crucial role of speculative fiction in the perpetration of settler-colonial harm and investigates the spectrum of political imagination. 

Un-Charting’s simulator film takes viewers on a journey that weaves together real and imagined spaces from throughout the Middle East and on both sides of the Atlantic. The large curved screen mimics simulators used in military training and gaming technologies, placing spectators in the chilling eye of the storm of an ideological state apparatus. Experienced from a first-person point of view, the camera movements reveal a highly saturated 3D-rendered dystopian landscape that grows from Brother’s map. The embodied “push and pull” experience inside the simulator raises questions about the individual’s place within broader systems of oppression and challenges viewers to disrupt the cartography of place-based myths.

Un-Charting, simulator room consisting of 180-degree screen and 3D animation film.

Un-Charting, simulator room consisting of 180-degree screen and 3D animation film.

Un-Charting, simulator room consisting of 180-degree screen and 3D animation film.

Un-Charting, simulator room consisting of 180-degree screen and 3D animation film.​​​​​​​

Simulator Film by Tali Keren Main Credits:
Artist and director: Tali Keren
3D art | design | compositing | animation: Ayelet Shoval
Script and development: Tali Keren, Nir Shauloff
Documentary interviews archival research: Tali Keren
Dramaturgy: Nir Shauloff
Voice Actress: Lottie Beck Johnson
Sound Design & Mixing Engineer: Micha Gilad
Cinematographer: Or Flicher

Un-Charting Archival Materials, Vitrine 2 : Presenting archival, visual and historical materials of the 3D simulator film.

Un-Charting: New Jerusalem Plan, Custom vinyl flooring with an 18th century British colonial plan.
Installation view, James Gallery, CUNY Graduate Center.

UN-CHARTING, Public Programs. 

Key to Un-Charting are public programs that take place on top of – and actively unsettle and counter – Brothers’ map of his envisioned New Jerusalem. These programs are created collaboratively with organizations, scholars, artists and activists, and reflected on local and global themes relating to the exhibition from an intersectional lens.  At the James Gallery, public programs were created in partnership with curator Adam HajYahia's "Footnotes On The Fictive Present,” curator Katherine Carl, New Red Order & Kite, and with CUNY’s Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC). These gatherings are aimed at creating a site of gathering and collective knowledge production, grounded in a de colonial framework. The programs included talks, performances and screenings which foreground the emancipatory possibilities of political imagination, through experimental pedagogy, conversations, and artistic experimentation.
 “Growing Beloved Community: Restorative Justice Gathering”. 2023, James Gallery, CUNY Graduate Center, 2023

Footnotes On The Fictive Present”.
“Charting The Archive of Ancestral Histories and Place" Artist Kamau Ware in conversation with researcher Jennifer Jones

Maqam concert with musicians Amir Elsaffar and Hamid Al-Saadi. The performance followed Zahra Ali’s "Uprisings and Women'sMovement In Today's Iraq" organized by MEMEAC

Maqam concert with musicians Amir Elsaffar and Hamid Al-Saadi. The performance followed Zahra Ali’s "Uprisings and Women'sMovement In Today's Iraq" organized by MEMEAC
"Dream Riots:" Musical Performance with Bergsonist and Gavilán Rayna Russom. April 1st, part of  Adam HajYahia’s “Footnotes on the Fictive Present”

Un-Charting, installation view, CUNY Graduate Center. 


ReMergers a site specific performance by artists New Red Order x Kite. 

"The Golden Age Is Out of Joint:"  Talk and presentation by photographer/writer Nour AnnanPart of Adam HajYahia's series "Footnotes on the Fictive Present"

"Palestinian Local Governance and Resistance in a Post-Oslo Era" a talk and conversation with Political Scientist Diana B. Greenwald. Part of MEMAC's series.

Screening of Moonscape by filmmaker/artist Mona Benyamin followed by a conversation with artist Tali Keren. Part of Adam HajYahia's "Footnotes on the Fictive Present."

Colloquium in honor of Historian Samira Haj. Part of the MEMEAC's series. 

"Dream Riot:" Musical Performance with Bergsonist and Gavilán Rayna Russom. Part of Adam HajYahia's "Footnotes on the Fictive Present."

"Restorative/Transformative Justice Workshop for Graduate Center community" Collaboration with the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education.

"Turkish Poetry in Translation" with Belladonna Collaborative. Part of MEMAC's program series.

"On Judeo-Christian and Other Myth Making:" Artist Tali Keren in conversation with Middle East scholar Gil Hochberg and Mizrahi Feminist Scholar/Activist Yali Hashash.

"Uprisings and Women's Movement In Today's Iraq:'' an evening of music and conversation with Socialgist Zahra Ali followed by a Maquam concert with musicians Amir Elsaffar and Hamid Al-Saadi. Part of MEMEAC's series.

"Charting Settler Choreography" Hadar Ahuvia Performance, followed by a conversation with film scholar Shirly Bahar and artist Tali Keren. 




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