Measures of Distance (1998)

Measures of Distances

In this video, letters from her mother in Beirut, written in Arabic, move across the screen. They are read aloud, in English, by the artist. Hatoum's mother is also heard, speaking openly about her feelings and sexuality, accompanied by images of her in the shower.

The video could be seen as a continuation of Mona Hatoum's earlier performance work: it represented a contrast between youth and age, between closeness and separation, homeland and exile.
Measuring a multitude of distances/oppositions or differences between home and exile, writing and reading, reading and translating, mother and daughter, autobiography and artistic invention, she creates a visual montage reflecting her feelings of separation and isolation from her Palestinian family. Emotional distance is measured by the separation of loved ones as surrounding space, emotional and physical, is overtaken by advancing war with its fissures, ruptures and violent breaks between family members.

The personal and political are inextricably bound in a narrative that explores personal and family identity against a backdrop of traumatic social rupture


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I didn't know that the video was a continuation of Mona Hatoum's earlier performance work, I thought there was no continuation...

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