Landscapes of Ladino (2019)
HDV video (single channel), 13’, 2020
HDV video Installation (three channel) across three screens, 14’, 2019
On Landscapes of Ladino, essay, 2019


click on either version of the work to watch 
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“The waterfront of Thessaloniki; people walk along this border between the city and the sea. Their movement drags a little, as if pulled backward their stroll becomes a kind of lumber — Bellini plays. The music comes from the radio in my grandmother’s car. I sit in the passenger seat and film through the window. I have been driven down this waterfront thoroughfare many times throughout my life and walked up and down this iconic but non-descript seafront. It is much the same as it would have been in the middle of last century with the same asphalt; the only impact of regeneration being the accommodation of a bike lane. The sea and sky here operate as way-points, means of orientation in this city which I have known so well yet at the same time not at all.”


To read the accompanying essay to the work please click here.



 


Stills from Landscapes of Ladino (single channel) , 2019





Landscapes of Ladino is a video work and installation comprised of footage taken during a two-month site visit to Thessaloniki, Greece. It explores the nexus of language and landscape through the near disappearance of Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino), lingua franca of the Sephardic Jews.

Pre-war Thessaloniki was a multi-ethnic metropolis, and a key site for Sephardic life. Up until the early 20th century, Sephardic Jews made up the majority of the population. By 1943, the Nazi-occupation of Greece had led to the near-total extermination of the Jewish community, with less than 2000 people returning after liberation. The community and thus its linguistic systems were eradicated from the landscape of the city. Today the community stands at less than 1000, with only a handful of people still able to speak in Ladino.

The work brings together fragments from interviews and oral testimonies taken during my time spent in the city to produce a work somewhere between artist-film, documentary and essay film. It views Ladino as an ‘ancestral’ or ‘archaic mother tongue’ and, with Julia Kristeva’s notion of the archaic mother, questions the role of a ‘mother(’s)’ tongue or ‘mother(’s) land’ and reflects on subsequent alienations from it.

The work currently has two iterations, one across three channels as an installation and the other as a single channel version. 


To read the accompanying essay to the work please click here.



Mark

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