Zeina Barakeh, Projections From The Third Half [Cloud Storm], 2020, animation, 3 min. (artwork © Zeina Barakeh)
My research practice aims to deconstruct war and is rooted in my experiences growing up in Beirut during a time of conflict—a period characterized by deeply polarizing political divisions that often culminated in armed clashes and abruptly shifting political alliances.
Third Half (2008–) is a constellation of artistic explorations, including serialized animations, installations based on archival materials, and collaborations, that tackle complexly connected aspects of conflict and polarization. Third Half depicts the encounter between antagonistic forces. It acts as a mechanism to disrupt and reconfigure the present as well as to generate reparative narratives.
The animation series Projections From The Third Half constructs infinite narratives of conflict and war by combining stills from two earlier animations, Slam Bang Blue (2018) and Homeland Insecurity (2016). Each combination produces a new plot reflecting simultaneously a potential chain reaction and a distortion of the original. [Cloud Storm] represents one plot possibility. The animation’s aesthetics reference chaos during war to evoke the lack of clarity and truth in face of the media onslaught of fragmentary information. My process involves dissecting my own archival imagery and reconstructing it into new abstracted elements, characters, architectural monuments, and landscapes to assert a sense of agency.
Zeina Barakeh, Slam Bang Blue (excerpt), 2018, animation, 7:10 min.; Homeland Insecurity (excerpt), 2016, animation, 9:50 min. (artwork © Zeina Barakeh)
Slam Bang Blue and Homeland Insecurity draw from various transnational mythologies and historical and current events. The main characters are the Centaur, a male human head and torso on the lower body of a horse, and the Horse, an avatar of the artist’s own body with the head of a horse. The colonizing Centaurs are based on the mounted soldiers of the “British Mandate for Palestine” (1920–48), while the Horses depict colonized subjects and embody agency and resistance.
Viewers are invited to explore additional configurations of Projections From The Third Half at zeinabarakeh.com.
Zeina Barakeh (b. Beirut) is a Palestinian Lebanese artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Yinchuan, China; Newport Art Museum, RI; San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, CA; Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, NJ; Princeton University, NJ; San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries; Harlem International Film Festival, New York; International Film Awards Berlin; and on the ZAZ Corner billboard in Times Square, New York.