Speaking on the Edge of Silence

And I am touched by a note and powerful reflection shared by an artist, survivor and participant in Berlin’s minicutiepoc Film Fest- whose words and connections are very uplifting. Thank You, Charlie, for letting me share:

Speaking on the Edge of Silence

By Charlie Haddad

The response to the demand not heard is the accent of the reply not spoken. I know this now. My body has been the furnishing of psychiatric rooms while my demands have remained unheard. I have stung with my voice those practitioners of difference but heard only the accent of their unspoken reply. Their silence is the sound of a secret promising to be remembered.

So now I am speaking on the precipice of survival. And here I am speaking about the affliction of living a silence that has no name. I am speaking about that silence whose name must not be kept secret. I am speaking, now, to the silence that is the name of this secret.

I am speaking as a working-class person. I am speaking as a psychiatric survivor of colour. I am speaking as queer and trans person. And I am speaking under the weight of whose meaning understands that I am never speaking; that I was never meant to speak. So hear me, and not only my words, for they are merely the arrogated artefacts of a language I was never meant to demand. Instead, hear the name of my silence, for it is this eruptive constancy that will drown you.

And speaking with me, from the crucibles of a kindling resistance, is A. K. Prince’s film Suicide Note. It is speaking, I hear, to the tyrannies of silence, with a voice that has demanded its own survival.

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Summer Reflections and Gearing Up for Fall Screenings

As I gear up for my upcoming screening Systems of Survival film screening, I am reflecting all the past processes and happenings that brought me here.

It has been an endless process. So let’s talk about the past summer alone, which consisted of a couple of small and cozy screenings in Toronto and Peterborough.

Shedding+Regenerating was filled with free delicious food in observation of the spiritual practice of langar in Sikhism. It felt so important to nourish art with nutritional food – that often gets lost in the process of making and sharing art. And in a film about emotional well being, migration journeys and memories, food is perhaps of even greater significance. The event featured dal, roti, sarson da saag – some of the gem dishes of Punjab, and made possible through the wonderful support and organizing of annu saini who also exhibited two of her recently completely conceptual art pieces. It was also a pleasure to connect with Rose and Nick from LAL who helped host the event.

Architecture of Mad at Mad Pride in Toronto was a last minute confirmation. Though I wasn’t able to make it to my film screening, I participated in the inspiring creative writing workshop and discussion group.

And I returned twice in the summer to Peterborough – a strange place where I have worked more than lived. Once for a film screening and artist talk hosted by Community and Race Relations Committee of Peterborough as part of South/Asian Month. And the second time, towards the end of summer, for a rare weekend getaway with close friends, where I returned to Otonabee River (see Interactive for locational anecdotes).

At the heart of all these events, I am reminded… art doesn’t exist outside of communities, real spaces and change-making. Here is some feedback received from Peterborough:

Suicide Note weaves an auditory and visual narrative by threading together seemingly divergent strands of pace, perception and sound into a powerful story where the starkness produced by the very absence of words enhances the magnificent presence and expressions of the protagonist. By centering on silenced subjects, representations of voicelessness burst through their transformation into expressions of empowerment, movement through cycles, and the power of memory for healing. ~ karolyn givogue

Raju Rage:

Some words from Misster Raju Rage – Programmer and Coordinator of the London Transgender Film Festival 2008 and Mini CuTiepoc Film Festival Berlin:

Suicide Note is a complex visual and audio poem of red balloons and little blue birds that fly, with a haunting soundtrack, clever artful cinematography and thought provoking narratives that gives you a refreshing insight into the film’s subject of suicide. This film takes you on a journey across the world through depression, performative gender exploration, reclamation and imagination. Packed with sensory stimulation, it truly deserves to be watched by many!

first fragment shown

NFB Screening of Hong Kong Express

NFB Screening of Hong Kong Express

It is scary – first time screening your work. But I got wonderful support and reception from friends. And now feel inspired to complete the Life/Death Project trilogy.

I put up a webform for receiving feedback. Thank you to everyone! Here is one quote:

In this film, intense, shocking and silenced subjects are centered in a manner that explodes the experiences of loneliness and silence into a narrative of empowerment, movement and sharing.… The use of virtual and visual media demonstrates the fact that those who are silenced can find their voice and deliver messages through the very mobilization of their silence.