A screening of artworks addressing tyrannical planetary conditions

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Chitra Ganesh, Amar Kanwar, Ana María Millán, Michael Rakowitz, and Rattana Vandy

Thursday, November 9, 2023
Francis Kite Club, New York


Protodispatch presents Beyond Survival, a screening program of short films and videos addressing tyrannical planetary conditions by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Chitra Ganesh, Amar Kanwar, Ana María Millán, Michael Rakowitz, and Rattana Vandy at the Francis Kite Club. The screening will be followed by an informal discussion with curators Mari Spirito and Laura Raicovich and artists Chitra Ganesh, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme*, and is produced by Protocinema.

This Protodispatch screening event brings together videos that convey forms of resistance which take us beyond survival in a multitude of forms. The selected artworks depict the regrowth of scorched lands, the exposure of dictator propaganda, fantastical potential futures, and remembering and mourning loved ones murdered in war. Included artists transform the tangible aftermaths of tyrannical acts and conditions by filming that which has been prohibited; revisiting historical events through personal, contemporary narratives; adopting the look and feel of video games and comic books; and reinventing myths and stories. In doing so, they defy rigid perspectives on survival. This screening reflects the growth of methodologies that use knowledge gained in the endurance of horrors, emphasizing the fluid, elastic, and possible, as well as revealing the potential to navigate around what seems immovable, rather than meeting it head-on. Within these works, the critical question becomes, “What grows from the ashes?”

Please join us on Thursday, November 9th, from 6:30 - 8:30pm for a 55-minute screening program followed by drinks and a social conversation.

Beyond Survival Screening Program
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme
Until we became fire and fire us, 2023, 7:35 minutes
Abbas and Abou-Rahme capture nature’s poetic resistance to invasion. By exploring the regenerative cycles of destruction and regrowth, observed in both nature and human activity, the artists confront the dehumanizing erasure of Palestinian life, communities, and lands.

Amar Kanwar
The Face, 2004, 4:34 minutes
Kanwar’s video follows the seldom photographed Burmese General Than Shwe as he visits the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. It subtly contrasts the duplicitous public image offered by oppressive regimes with the genuine reactions of people in close proximity to the dictators.

Rattana Vandy
Monologue, 2015, 19:03 minutes
Similar to treatments offered to phantom limb patients, Vandy offers memory as a treatment for loss in Monologue. But how do you memorialize and communicate with long-lost loved ones when all that is available is the violence of their absence?

Ana María Millán
Wanderlust, 2015-2017, 8:21 minutes
Ana María Millán’s Wanderlust is a bilingual journey into the consciousness of resistance. Psychedelic in nature, the animation reinforces the importance of leading with the heart, even when there is the risk of losing your head (whether metaphorically or physically).

Michael Rakowitz
The Ballad of Special Ops Cody, 2017, 14:42 minutes
According to the U.S. military website Stars and Stripes, “Special Ops Cody isn’t a regular GI, and he’s no ordinary Joe. Special Ops Cody is a star.” In The Ballad of Special Ops Cody, Michael Rakowitz sends Cody into Chicago’s Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures (formerly the Oriental Institute) to liberate the Mesopotamian statues within.

Chitra Ganesh
The Adventures of White Beryl, 2016, 2:10 minutes
With animation that fuses early video game aesthetics and stop-action animation with ancient Tibetan symbols and myths, Ganesh’s contribution is rich with color and mystery. A rabbit hole of symbolism,The Adventures of White Beryl connects the physical, bodily, and metaphysical realities that support the spirit in confronting conflicts, dangers, and joys inherent to the cycle of life.

Total Running time 56.4 minutes.

Artists Biographies Here

* To be confirmed

Produced by

About Protodispatch
Protodispatch is a monthly digital publication of artists’ dispatches on the life conditions that necessitate their work. Initiated in September 2022 by Laura Raicovich and produced by Protocinema, Protodispatch has publication partners in US/, Turkey/ and Thailand/, with more on the way. Current and past Protodispatches here:

About Protocinema
Protocinema is a cross-cultural art organization that commissions and presents site-aware art around the world. Our purpose is to support dialogue between cultures on equal footing and create opportunities for listening & expression. By doing so, Protocinema aids the development of relationships both at the mindfully local & globally interconnected levels. Founded in 2011 by Mari Spirito, Protocinema is an ambulant nonprofit 501(c)3, free of ‘brick and mortar.’ Our locations are varied, responding both to global concerns and changing conditions on the ground.