S A L O N S
On October 29-30, the Boston Palestine Film Festival’s 10th Season wrapped up with three striking programs of shorts. From documentaries on Gaza, to dramas depicting refugee displacement, to sci-fi portrayals of Palestinian futurity, these shorts probe the question of Palestine from a variety of angles, affecting the viewer on multiple registers: ethical, political, intellectual, emotional, philosophical, artistic. The films make claims to a shared humanity, inviting its New England-based audience to empathize with the Palestinian and/or refugee figure, as well as highlight irreducible difference, cautioning against universalizing identifications. In the words of the refugee protagonist of “The Way Home” to the well-meaning yet ultimately unhelpful Swedish immigration lawyer: “You don’t know me! You can’t know what I’ve been through!” These shorts challenge their viewers to watch and listen with deference and respect to a diversity of Palestinian visions and voices.
Narrating the Chinese Vietnamese Identity is an interactive website created by Francesca Huynh that documents the oral histories of six first- and second-generation Chinese Vietnamese Americans from multiple sites and locals. Combining interview transcripts with photographic portraits, the project investigates the histories, cultures, and identities that make up the diasporic Chinese Vietnamese community in the U.S.
Poetry as protest is a different means of communication. It is not about inviting the audience in to try and rationalize away your lived experiences; rather it is meant to draw others in to feel the emotional truths being expressed. As Claudia Rankine puts it, “how you feel is how you feel is how you feel even if what you perceive isn’t tied to what is” because at the end of the day, “what is?” Poetry brings value to the deeply personal and emotional truths that are so often obscured, devalued, or twisted into something ugly. Poetry, unlike other ways of describing institutional racism, tends to the lived experiences and emotions of the oppressed. As protest, it articulates, as Audre Lorde puts it, “the farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears…cobbled [together] by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.” Poetry is a way to speak when one’s experiences cannot be expressed within the confines of statistical analysis and racialized and gendered norms of conversational discourse.
WHAT IS STREET BIO?
Street Bio is a program started by EMW Bookstore community to explore “the interface between engineered biology and the street—the people, culture, and products that will shape how biology leaves the lab and enters our everyday lives.”