Wednesday, 2 October 2013


London-based visual artist Shezad Dawood will visit Glasgow Film Theatre on Sunday 6 October to take part in a Q&A session following a screening of his feature film d├ębut Piercing Brightness. Screening as part of GFT’s strand ‘Crossing the Line’, which explores the cross over between visual art and narrative cinema, this eerily beautiful science fiction film is as experimental as it is entertaining.

The Crossing the Line films are usually good value - although they come from the visual art tradition, which has a habit of disguising a lack of technical skill as being aesthetic rather than laziness, the curation on this strand is generally strong. Besides, it's science fiction: what could go wrong?

The film opens with two youths landing in a spaceship outside Preston. Their mission: to re-establish contact and affect the retrieval of the 'Glorious 100' sent to earth millennia ago in human form to study and observe the development of another race. After making contact with one of the 100, now a Pakistani shopkeeper (Bhasker Patel), they discover that many of their kind have become corrupted, forgetting their original purpose and slowly becoming influenced by and in turn influencing their adopted home...

Hang on, I am interested now: I like the juxtaposition of alien civilisations and Preston. It makes sense that alien observers would go to Preston, though. It's a bit like the junction between Liverpool and Manchester, where trains can be changed and a nice walk can be taken up the high street while you wait to escape.

Inspired by Lancashire having the highest rate of UFO sightings in the UK, as well as hosting one of the earliest splinter Mormon communities in the world, Piercing Brightness uses Preston and its inhabitants as a springboard to investigate religious, racial and class-based social hierarchies.

Yes, this is going beyond an easy joke to being something interesting - a meditation on belonging and absence, perhaps?

Piercing Brightness is scripted by cult novelist Kirk Lake, with an original score by Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple (Japan) and features music by Alexander Tucker.

Wait a minute... can we read that again.... original score by Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple (Japan)... 

I am going to get my tickets.... 

About Shezad Dawood
Dawood's work explores the multiple possibilities engendered by the play between cultures, histories and
fictions. Notions of authorship and representation are deconstructed by working with a steady stream of collaborators mapping cross-cultural influences and trajectories.

Working through film, video and painting Dawood questions the performative process of image-making and dissemination, moving through various points of identification and visual systems such as science fiction and the occult.

Dawood openly engages with various devices from avant-garde theatre, the conventions of art-house and low-budget film-making, to notions of appropriation and a global archive.


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