Maha Maamoun’s Night Visitor: The Night of Counting the Years is a snapshot of a population in a moment of upheaval. Set during the spring of 2011, the video is entirely composed of images from YouTube that were shot by men and women as they broke into Egyptian State Security Buildings. Away from the crowd- ed masses and fervent protests of Tahrir Square that populated the media, Maamoun’s video captures first person experiences of men and women as they sift through the unraveling archive of an oppressive regime.
The protganists of this video are searching through this repository of classified information looking for answers and trying to reconcile their political condition, but mostly they unearth only fragments and debris. Maamoun stripped most of the sound from the material, which places the focus on what these citizens are choosing to look at. We see the scrawled messages left behind on a prison wall, shiny new cars of the security forces and state officials, smashed photographs on the floor, belly dancing costumes, desks covered in scattered paper, remains that suggest a narrative but fall short of providing specific or damning evidence. The title of the film refers to the practice of security officials arresting political activists and dissidents under the dark cover of night. In Maamoun’s video the “night visitors” are performing a reversal of sorts where, as she says, “The visited of old are now the visitors.”
April 12, 2014
2:00 – 5:00pm
Pablo de Ocampo
Vtape presents Maha Maamoun’s Night Visitor: The Night of Counting the Years as part of the Images Festival 2014 Off Screen. For a complete listing of the Images Festival programming, see www.imagesfestival.com
Still credit: Maha Maamoun’s Night Visitor: The Night of Counting the Years