Chain Reaction 2020–2021

In 2012 RLAG presented Sarindar Dhaliwal's mixed media exhibition takes viewers on a journey through Dhaliwal’s personal history of movement.

Chain Reaction Series

Robert Langen Art Gallery’s exhibition programs are valued and well-respected educational resources for Laurier students, faculty and public at large. Chain Reaction represents a new online series of collaborations between the gallery and faculty members to integrate a contemporary arts component into areas of course study.

The objective of this experiential learning opportunity is to provide a shared environment where academic and artistic perspectives can come together to foster an exchange of ideas, ignite creative thinking and explore critical debate. Students are invited by the Art Gallery Curator to create a response to a selected work of art that relates to the concepts or issues discussed in their assigned course. The response can be in the form of video essay, creative literary piece, drawing, painting, photograph, spoken word, etc. — the course professor will determine or approve the student’s selected approach.

Cartographer's mistake: hockey fields and marigold maps

Sarindar Dhaliwal mixed media works

In 2012 RLAG presented this exhibition which took viewers on a journey through Dhaliwal’s personal history of movement from her birthplace in India, to Britain and then finally to Canada. This circuit retraced many times serves as a conceptual framework to construct a particular cartography of 20th century diaspora and the colonial legacy that shaped it. “My work has always been connected to the autobiographical underpinnings of my life; reshaping the bits of one’s history that have been fragmented and displaced across continents, cultures and homes,” said Dhaliwal.

Included in the exhibition was the Dhaliwal’s first video project entitled olive, almond & mustard (2010). The video speaks to the parental desire and insistence to continue cultural rituals while assimilating into life in Britain during 1950–1960’s. The artist reflects on her grooming experience with her mother washing her hair in warmed homemade yoghurt and then rubbing olive oil (sometimes almond or mustard oil) into her hair and then braiding and putting ribbons in it. A common act in the country of her birth (India) but was at odds with Dhaliwal’s desire to assimilate into the culture of my adopted homeland. This endearing motherly act is alternatively seen as alienating experience to the daughter and exacerbates the political and journalistic diatribes against immigrants in England at that time.

Sarindar Dhaliwal is a Toronto-based artist, exhibiting nationally and internationally. Born in the Punjab raised in London, England and has lived in Canada since 1968. Dhaliwal received her BFA with a concentration in sculpture at University College Falmouth, UK, and her MFA from York University. She graduated with a doctorate from the Cultural Studies Program at Queens University in 2019.

The Robert Langen Art Gallery acknowledges the generosity of Sarindar Dhaliwal for granting copyright permission to incorporate screen captures, footage, and short audio clips from olive, almond & mustard (2010) into the video essays of Laurier's FS238: Bollywood Film course student projects.

olive, almond & mustard (2010)

Description of olive, almond & mustard 

This is a colour video of 13-minute in duration, directed by Sarindar Dhaliwal. The original film was conceived as a three-channel projection. The version we have here is a single screen version with three panels of videos running simultaneously side by side. The film begins with a series of black and white shots of chimneys, roofs and factory smokestacks in London during the late 1950s and 1960s. The next series of shots are black and white images of young children playing in the streets, and close ups of smokes that turned from black and white to the colors of green, pink and purple. These series of shots are accompanied by a soundtrack of birds chirping, laughter of children playing, and Carol Sawyer singing the nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons”. Gradually, the image of smoke turns into black and white still photographs of the streets of London, pictures of Sarindar Dhaliwal’s family members, including her sister, aunt, mother and herself. These black and white still photographs are accompanied by a Sikh religious chant. The credits of the title appear on a red background, which is accompanied by Carol’s voice, singing the nursery rhyme, “Lavender’s Blue”. The images that follow are of churches in London. The next shot is a close up of the Figaro brand olive oil, which serves as a transitional shot that takes viewers inside a home. We see an array of olive, mustard and almond oils stored in bottles and neatly placed on a shelf, as well as close ups of green saris, representing Sarindar’s mother who was born in India. Gradually, the setting of the film shifts from the living room to the bathroom. Here, we see a little girl is having her hair washed with warmed-up homemade yoghurt by her mother. The images include close ups of her feet, and her anguished looking face as she wipes the yoghurt and water from her own face. The little girl in the film represents the young Sarindar. These images are accompanied by soundtracks of the BBC Radio presentation of Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech (1968), overlaid on top of the songs “Ferry Cross the Mersey” (1965), “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” (1964), and BBC broadcasts of shipping forecasts and weather reports. We are now back in the living room. The little girl’s mother takes some oil from her olive, almond, mustard oil collection and place it in the little girl’s hair, rubbing it onto her scalp. After rubbing the oil throughout her daughter’s hair, the mother proceeds to braid her daughter’s hair and putting red ribbons in it. Throughout the entire process of this grooming ritual, we see close ups of the mother’s feet, close ups of the little girl’s hair and close ups of her unhappy face, signifying her aversion toward this ritual because of her desire to assimilate into the culture of England, her adopted homeland. This sequence ends with the centre video panel showing the little girl with an expression of resignation, planked with images of purple smoke in the left and right panels. This entire sequence is accompanied by the soundtrack of Carol singing the nursery rhyme, “Bobby Shafto’s Gone to Sea”. The next sequence takes us to a village in India. We are now at a village school where young Indian schoolgirls dressed in British style uniforms stand in single file ready to start their school day. Then, they march to their classrooms. These images are accompanied by Carol singing the nursery rhyme, “The Big Ship Sails Through the Alley Alley O”. During recess, schoolgirls in India comb and braid each other’s hair. This series of shots include a long shot of the girls sitting in a circle and close ups of their hands braiding each other’s hair. These shots are interspersed with shots of the little girl having her hair braided by her mother shown earlier in the film. This sequence is accompanied by 16 people reading the Edward Lear poem “The Owl and the Pussycat” in the following accents: English, Scottish, Pakistani, Indian, Trinidadian, Australian and Hong Kongese. The next series of shots show village girls in India sitting in a huge circle and braiding each other’s hair, which is accompanied by Carol singing the nursery rhyme “I had a Little Nut Tree”. This sequence also includes shots of Indian village girls and schoolgirls in London playing, as well as shots of a Punjab boy combing and braiding his hair and tying it up into a turban. The latter sequence is accompanied by the soundtrack of Carol singing “Bobby Shafto’s Gone to Sea”. The next sequence shows images of sunsets, half-crescent moons, antennas, the rural landscapes taken from inside a moving train journey from Delhi to the Punjab. This sequence is accompanied by background sound of the moving train and the passengers’ conversations in different Indian languages. Gradually, the centre panel is replaced with images of an Indian woman carrying an empty jug on her head, followed by her milking a cow. The background sound of the moving train now gives way to the soundtrack of a Punjabi folk song. The film ends with all three panels dissolving into images of the little girl’s feet drenched in yoghurt and those of smoke in black and white. This last part of the film is accompanied by the pop song “The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore” (1966). The film ends with a credit sequence that uses orange marigold flower prints against a black background, which is accompanied by Carol singing the nursery rhyme Lavender’s Blue.

In the 2020 Fall term, students in FS238 Bollywood Film course under the guidance of Dr. Jing Jing Chang created video essays that provided their own commentaries on the film olive, almond & mustard (2010) by Canadian multimedia artist Sarindar Dhaliwal. The following videos cover a wide range of topics, from overcoming loneliness during the current pandemic, to spending quality time with family over home-cooked meals, to experiences of homesickness living in the diaspora, to poetic and personal reflections on gender and the rural-urban divides. While some videos are quiet renditions of their views toward themes of diaspora and identity politics, some videos are accompanied by creative poems written by the students themselves.

FS238 Bollywood Film Creative Course Assignment

Based on the video and materials addressed in class, students will work either independently or in groups to create video essays that provide their commentaries on the video titled olive, almond & mustard (2010) by Canadian multimedia artist Sarindar Dhaliwal. Through their video essays, students will activate an ongoing dialogue with Dhaliwal’s video, as well as engage with themes such as masculinity, sexuality, and family within the fluid contexts of the nation and diaspora often found in Bollywood films.

On behalf of the Robert Langen Art Gallery, I would like to thank our participating students for their creativity, and willingness to share their projects for our Laurier community.

Suzanne Luke, Curator
Robert Langen Art Gallery

A Chaotic Balance by Jocelyn Khosla and Aria Noori

Description of A Chaotic Balance

This is a four-minute long colour video produced by Jocelyn Khosla and Aria Noori. It shows a series of images of objects. The screen at times is occupied by two panels of images side-by-side to show the contrast between the two objects. At times, the screen is occupied by just one panel of images. The images are often accompanied by sounds of boiling water, running water, and someone entering the door and closing the door behind them.

The first shot begins with two panels images side-by-side: the left panel shows a transparent tea kettle with water half full and lit by yellow lighting; the right panel shows the same transparent electric kettle now with boiling water and lit up in red. The sound of boiling water can be heard. This shot ends with the disappearance of the left panel image. The screen now only shows the right panel. The shot ends as the camera slowly moves into an extreme close up of the boiling water. Fade out.

The second shot has two panels of images side-by-side: the left panel shows two forearms superimposed on top of each other against a lavender colored background. These images create the illusion that the two hands are holding; the right panel is of a black-and-white image of one forearm hanging downward. The sounds of ocean waves and perhaps wind is heard in the background. Fade out.

The third shot has two panels of images side-by-side: the left panel shows a mirror reflection of a bathroom, with a shower towel handing on a railing, and glimpse of the shower curtain on the left; the right panel shows the same image now blurred by steam from the shower. The same sounds from the previous shot are heard in the background. Fade out.

The fourth shot has two panels of images side-by-side: the left panel shows a lamp with yellow light; the right image shows the same lamp, but this time with red flickering light. The sound heard in the background is of automobiles in traffic. Fade out.

The 5th shot has two panels of images side-by-side: the left panel shows an opened yellow door; and the right, a red door. The sound is the same as in the 4th shot. Fade out.

The 6th shot has two panels of images side-by-side: the left panel shows an image of the ocean and an expansive horizon with a rainbow across the blue sky; the right panel shows an empty road in a forest at dusk, with a halfmoon in the skies above. The sounds of the quiet night with wind and a cicada chirping are heard in the background. Fade out.

The 7th shot has two panels of images side-by-side: the left panel shows an image of blue sky with white clouds; and the right panel shows a black and white image of the sky with a tree. Both shots are low angle shots. Sounds of ocean waves and wind are heard in the background. Fade out.

The 8th shot begins as a black image with only the sound of water running heard in the background. The right panel now appears with a running tab filling a bathtub full of water. We realize that the sound we heard at the beginning of shot 8 is the sound of the running water filing up the tub. The left panel appears. The image is of sink faucets with running water. Now the sound is replaced by the sound of the running faucets. The shot proceeds with the right image disappearing. The shot is left with just the left panel. In addition to hearing the sound of water, we also hear the squeaky sound of someone opening a door. Fade out.

The 9th shot is a series of interchanging flickering images from right to left panel, showing first the right panel image of a house plant, to the left panel image of another house plant. When the left image appears, the right image would disappear and vice versa. This flickering effect continues three times. The sounds heard in the background include someone walking and opening a door and closing a door and sounds of ocean waves and wind. Fade out.

The 10th shot has two panels of images side-by-side: the left panel shows an image of a painting; and the right panel shows another image of another painting. Ocean waves and winds can be heard in the background. Fade out.

The next series of shots are overhead shots of circular shaped individual objects. These shots are accompanied by the sounds of someone walking, and opening and closing a door, and of ocean waves and winds. The shots include the following objects: a spool of purple thread, a bottle of pills, a navy-blue ornamental ceramic plate, a pomegranate, an orange, a melon, a doorknob, a clock at 6 O’Clock, a cardboard with a small round image of two jackets hanging, a clock at 5:55, the wheel of a skateboard, the wooden top of a jar, jars of spices, and a collection of Indian spices. These images will be repeated again once more but at a much faster pace. The sounds in the background remain the same.

The film ends with a shot of only the right panel showing an image of a boiling kettle with red light in the right side. The film ends.

 

A Farm Mom in a City by Nolan O’Kane

Description of A Farm Mom in a City

This is a colour video of two and a half minute long produced by Nolan O’Kane. It is narrated by Nolan O’Kane telling us about his mother’s rural upbringing and her continued struggles living in the city. It consists primarily of shots of rural Ontario and the city of Waterloo and shots of daily activities inside his home. The film begins with a series of shots taken from within the car through the rural landscape of rural Ontario. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “My mother, like Sarinda’s mother, grew up in a rural environment and that experience makes life in an urban setting a consistent adjustment.” The next series of shots are also taken from within a car. But these next series of shots intercut between shots of downtown Waterloo and the snow-covered landscapes of the countryside somewhere in Ontario. These shots are accompanied by Nolan’s voice over. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “This isn’t to the extent of emigrating from one country to another, but I see the rural and urban divide within her personality every day. The tranquility of the country roads and the quiet atmosphere of vast fields are lost and replaced by the restless streets of the city and its adjacent neighbourhoods.” Next is a close up of a shelf full of DVDs of Hollywood movies. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “I like to watch TV and enjoy movies set in large cities. I don’t know why I can just relate to them more I think.” The next shot is a close up taken from Nolan’s mother’s perspective reading a book and flipping through the pages of the book. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “My mom on the other hand, likes to read books.” This is followed by two shots taken from inside a car showing the imagery of the road from the backseat and the imagery of tree branches in a low angle shot. Nolan’s voice-over accompanies these two shots. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “I guess she can relate to the rural home life and is reminded or nostalgic for her childhood.” We are now back inside Nolan’s home. We are in his room. There is a table, a small bookcase, and a wall full of movie posters. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “My room is small and I spend a lot of time in it. In my free time I’ll play video games.” Now we see a close up of a video games controller. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “My mom does not understand this and wonders why I don’t spend more time outside.” The next shot shows his exercise room with a stationary bike, with acoustic and electric guitars, and a football jersey hung on the walls. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “I like to stay fit so I’ll spend time on the exercise bike that my dad got for us. My mother hasn’t touched it once.” We now see an old road bike in a garage. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “I think she wishes I’d take the old bike out of the garage and use it outside. I don’t know though…” Nolan seems to be uncertain in the next few lines in his narration. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “there’s too much traffic and not enough space here to casually bike around like my mom did when she was a kid. Her rural nature as a person is also reflected through her disdain for computers.” His voice-over is accompanied by a quick succession of shots of the city of Waterloo taken from inside the car. The next shot is a close up of his apple laptop. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “She cannot understand why I type my thoughts on a computer keyboard…” This shot is quickly followed by a medium close up of Nolan’s mother writing on a pad of paper. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “ instead of using a pencil and a pad of paper.” The next series of shots are graphic matched shots showing a church, trees outside, and the Christmas Tree in his home. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “The things she took from her rural childhood are in tandem with her cultural background. It doesn’t matter whether I like it or not.” Viewers now are back inside Nolan’s home. A close up shot of Nolan’s mom praying is seen in the foreground against the blurred background of a full dinner table. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “In her presence, we will pray before dinner and before bed.” The film ends with a succession of three shots: a close up of a plate of spaghetti, a blurred image of the Christmas tree, and a blurred close up image of Nolan’s mother inside a moving car. Nolan ends the film with the following reflection in voice-over. We hear the voice of Nolan. Nolan’s voice: “I don’t mind any of these differences though. I love my mom and I cherish her values, her company, her personality, everything.” The film ends.

 

All Of This Catch Up by Simmone Huras

Description of All of This Catch Up

This is a two-part video, with a total running time of 5 minutes produced by Simmone Huras. The first part is an avant-garde film showing the connection between experiences of a Canadian girl and those of the young Indian girl in Sarindar Dhaliwal’s film olive, almond & mustard (2010).

The first part is around two and a half minute long. It begins with a soundtrack from Sarindar Dhaliwal’s film over a shot of the title of the film in purple background. This is followed by a shot of a graphic image of two hands with word clouds of the following themes: family and gender, nationalism, cultural citizenship, diaspora, rural and urban divide, language, religion, accented cinema.

The film consists of the crosscutting of images from the life of a Canadian girl playing with her friends and images from Dhaliwal’s film. These images create comparison and contrast between present day life in Ontario and life in London during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The images include the following: a Canadian winter versus smokestacks and a foggy London day; close ups of churches in Ontario versus close ups of buildings in London; a train station in England versus a moving train in Canada through a snowy landscape, that ends with a medium shot of a girl covering her eyes; the next series of images not only show the contrast between dusks in Ontario and dusks in London, but also the different hues of orange: we see images of sunsets, and a moving car in traffic. The next series of shots are in hues of blue and grey: the moon, trees, a shot of an owl. These images are accompanied by sounds of the owl and church bells ringing. The next sequence illustrates the similarities and differences of the hair grooming practices of the young girl in olive, almond & mustard and Simmone’s kid sister. Images include: the young girl representing the young Dhaliwal in tears while her mother washes her hair; Simmone’s kid sister washes her hair and having her hair braided by her mother. This is followed by a series of family portraits showing Dhaliwal’s family and then of Simmone’s family. In the next series of shots, Simmone creates graphic matches between the braiding action of Indian schoolgirls and the braiding action of her kid sister, making friendship bracelets with her friends, or tying the laces of her boots. This motif of similar motion in different cultural contexts continues in the next series of shots: while the young Indian schoolgirls walk in single file and prepare to start their school day, Simmone’s kid sister and her friends are shown in single file carrying bobsleigh and later sliding down a snow-covered hill. And just as the young Indian girls in Dhaliwal’s film plays and spins in circles, Simmone’s sister and her friends also chase each other and run in circles. The film ends with a series of shot that follow a color scheme that begins with grey to a vibrant color of pink. These images include stills of buildings in London and images of a forest in Ontario, a still photo of Dhaliwal’s mother, an image of colored smoke and a shot of the bottle of olive oil used by Dhaliwal’s mother on her hair in olive, almond & mustard. This film is accompanied throughout with sounds from the soundtrack from Dhaliwal’s film and ambient sounds such as church bells, and other natural sounds. The film ends. The first part ends with closing credits, and texts in white font over a black background. The texts read as follows:

“The intention with this video essay, was to exacerbate Dhaliwal’s experience of alienation by contrasting her story with that of a modern-day Canadian child. I wanted to use an arguably avant-garde approach to explore certain preexisting emotions, themes and images through this added contrast. The following portion of the video will clearly display which screen captures were borrowed from olive, almond & mustard while also attempting to provide additional oral commentary.” These texts are accompanied by a soundtrack of a radio program from Dhaliwal’s film.

The second part of the video is around two and a half minute long. It consists of a series of images borrowed from Dhaliwal’s film. These images are accompanied by Simmone’s voice-over as she recites her poem. Her poem is titled: “All Of This Catch Up.” The text of her entire poem is reproduced at the following heading after the end of the summary of the second part.

The second part begins. We see a succession of screen captures from Dhaliwal’s film. They include the following images: images of hair products, smokestacks, train station, images of the moon, a young girl crying, her feet, olive oil, the mother braiding her hair, pictures of Dhaliwal and her family, children in an Indian school braiding each other’s hair, close ups of the girls braiding each other’s hair, images of the young Indian school girls in single file, two Indian girls in pink traditional clothing playing, young girls sitting in a circle, and images of purple smoke. The film ends with Simmone’s little sister doing a dance after shampooing her hair.

All Of This Catch Up (a poem)

What is Diaspora?
Diaspora is gender-fluid
Born one way but now another
One way, another, one way, another
Another division.
It’s rural in it’s quiet comfort
And urban in its loud disconnect.
Diaspora has too many tongues
And an open mouth of longing
Which might explain its accent.
Diaspora religiously commits identity theft
Or was it identity cleft?
Or maybe identity left? Where did it go?
Diaspora has an intangible space
Where it should have a face.
Diaspora with a capital “D”
Diaspora with a capital(ism)
Diaspora hides in the english smog.
Diaspora rests on a geographical log.
Diaspora lives in a neighborhood
Which would be good
If the neighbours weren't so far away.
It’s not so sweet when you can’t borrow sugar
But there's sugar in the air
So you know it's there.
Diaspora is the room the elephant is in.
Diaspora is born to be adopted.
Diaspora is alone but in company.
Diaspora smells like a new car but drives like an old one.
Diaspora is night and day.
Diaspora is the railway
And the train
But it wont pick a lane-
PICK A LANE!
Diaspora is sporadic and erratic
Never static but asmatic
And a bit of an addict
It just keeps going back.
Diaspora is the big ship which sails through the alley alley
Oh, Diaspora carries Bobby Shafto
To see
Diaspora grows a little nut tree
A little nutty
A little num
A little blue
Like lavender.
Diaspora moves like the owl
But has the grooming ritual of the pussycat
And the homeliness of the dog.
A house is not a home without a diaspora?
Diaspora grows
And diaspora nose
Diaspora is pinocchio
Wooden
Like a tree
With roots that lie
In every corner of the globe.
Diaspora braids past and present
Then hides the alienation with a bow
Or maybe alienation is the bow?
Diaspora is hair, there and everywhere
Diaspora is the old friend everyone meets
For coffee
How can diaspora sleep with
All Of This Catch Up?

 

Alone by Jared Wallis

Description of Alone

This is a colour video that is two and a half minute long produced by Jared Wallis. It captures a day in Jared Wallis’s life during the Covid pandemic. The short film is filmed inside Jared’s house and in the surrounding neighborhood. The film is accompanied with a copyright free song titled “Second Coming-no percussion by Kevin MacLeod, with a slight manipulation by Jared (he added layering to extend the length of the song. The link to the song is as follows: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4330-second-coming---no-percussion. The license to this song is at: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license. The film is also accompanied by Jared’s voice-over narration explaining his loneliness during these tough and lonely times.

The first shot is a long shot of Jared waking up in his darkened room. His face is not yet visible here. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “I start like any other day, I wake up, I get out of bed, it’s too late because I stayed up and now I’ve slept in. No one’s there to wake me up, or say hi to me in the morning… or the afternoon, and… it’s lonely.”

In the second shot, he leaves his house, which is followed with a long shot of Jared walking on a pedestrian sidewalk, away from the camera. We see his back and not his face. This shot is quickly followed by a medium shot of Jared looking outside his windows. His lonely face is captured in profile on the glass of the windowpanes. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “I was raised by my mom, sometimes I regret leaving because I miss her. I find it fascinating how much we can miss our family, no matter how much they drive us crazy. One day you remember why you love them in the first place, they’re more than just your family, they make a home.”

The fifth shot of the film is the continuation of shot 3 where Jared continues to walk on the sidewalk away from the camera. In the next shot, shot #6, Jared is back in his house and he is standing beside his dishwater. This shot is followed quickly by shot #7 where we are brought back to the street, Jared’s figure now becoming smaller as he walks further away from the camera. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “I miss when we would share taking turns doing the dishes. All these little traditions in the house really adds on to it, but when you’re alone those traditions are gone. Whether you procrastinate or just simply forget.”

In shot #8, Jared is now sitting in his study, in screen right. This long shot shows Jared with a despondent expression on his face. He is surrounded by bookshelves in the background and by stacks of books on his study table. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “I was told by my mom that it takes 23 days to make a habit, but one day to lose it.”

Shot #9 is a shot of Jared still walking on the sidewalk. This shot is quickly cut to a close up of a cross. The shot slowly zooms in on the cross. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “I was raised to be Christian, like my mother, and like her parents, and like their parents. The single god, whose power is like no other, do you think he’s lonely too? That would be interesting. A lonely god who made the entire universe and yet he can’t come down to see it. Interesting.”

Shot #11 is back outside. Jared has now stopped walking. He is in the middle-plane and at that point, he turns around abruptly and we see his face now. Shot #12 is an extreme long shot showing Jared standing in a snow-covered yard outside his house. He raises both his arms in frustration. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “But how is it fair when I need to live on my own? He gets to see my family, my dad is there with him and I’m alone.”

Although Jared feels lonely, he is determined to get up and get outside. Shot #13 captures his determination. We are in the same location as shot #8. Jared is still sitting in his study surrounded by books. However, he is seen getting up. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “I’ll get up from the chair and I’ll run.”

The next shot shows Jared now walking quickly on the same pedestrian sidewalk, almost running toward the camera. This shot is cut to Jared back inside his house, walking out, opening his door. Shot #16 is edited with a match on action, and we see Jared now stepping on his back-porch area. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “I’ll move, I’ll do whatever it takes to find who I am without my family. Only I am able to figure it out! No one else! No soldier or leader can control me. I will find myself!”

Shot #17 shows Jared now coming closer and closer to the camera as he walks on the pedestrian sidewalk. The shot fades out to black. We hear the voice of Jared. Jared’s voice: “They say finding yourself is the greatest joy. And do you know how I felt when I finally found it? I felt Alone…” As Jared finishes his voice-over narration with this realization, the film ends with an extreme long shot of Jared now sitting all alone on a lawn. We hear sounds of the traffic and wind blowing, as cars are moving in the background. The film ends.

 

Beans and Toast by Alexander Boudreau

Description of Beans and Toast

This is a colour video of close to 3 minutes long and shot in the 4 by 3 aspect ratio produced by Alexander Boudreau. It consists of a series of close ups of daily objects placed on a white bookshelf, set against a grey coloured background. The audio track that accompanies the images consists of a constant playing of individual notes on a piano and a voice-over narration by Alexander Boudreau reciting his original poem, titled “Beans and Toast”. There is reverb and compression on the voice-over to create a sound that is both large and eerily close to the viewers’ ears. 

The first image is a close up of a mechanical metronome with a continuous swinging pendulum.

The second image is a close up of a saw. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Women make the beans.”

The third image is a close up of a green Singer brand sewing machine. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Men make the toast.”

The fourth image is a close up of a ripe banana. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Security will come with time.”

The fifth image is a close up of a ripe banana with mashed banana residues on the surface. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “If you’ve got the time to spare.”

The sixth image is a close up of a red hard copy book titled, Danny and the Alabaster Box. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Loneliness might be death.”

The seventh image is a close up of an empty bottle. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “A burden, of unwanted stress.”

The eighth image is a close up of a black ball cap. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Cascading softly into a mess.”

The ninth image is a close up of a burning candle. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Empty stomachs hurt those”

The tenth image is of the empty shelf. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “that you love the most.”

The 11th image is a close up of the metronome with the swinging pendulum.

The 12th image is a close up of a glass full of water. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “A woman gets married.”

The 13th image is a close up of an empty glass. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Her husband makes the toast.”

The 14th image is a close up of a glass full of paint brushes. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Life and Death jigsaw puzzles.”

The 15th image is a close up of an alarm clock showing the time at 12:40. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “That you’re struggling to recover.”

The 16th image is a close up of one scruffy sneaker shoe. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “That boy kicks a soccer ball.”

The 17th image is a close up of a pair of scissors. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “While your tightly woven braids start to fall.”

The 18th image is a close up of a half burnt extinguished candle. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “How will you survive without Another?”

The 19th image is a close up of a sheet music superimposed on the cover of an old fashion magazine. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Your ears numb to the preaches from the family choir.”

The 20th image is a close up of the metronome with the swinging pendulum.

The 21st image is a close up of precious crystals. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “A woman must have a dowry.”

The 22nd image is a close up of a mason jar filled with buttons. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “A man must have a coat.”

The 23rd image is a close up of a box of yoghurt. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Lightly warmed dairy products.”

The 24th image is a close up of a row of eye-makeup brushes. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Are combed, massaged through your hair.”

The 25th image is a close up of a half full bottle of white wine. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “Told to lighten up ith time.”

The 26th image is of an empty shelf. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “the grip will tighten up.”

The 27th image is a close up of a cactus plant. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s voice: “Things might be different for your brother.”

The 28th image is a close up of a pink hair curler. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander voice: “Lessons spoken to unfazed ears”

The 29th image is a close up of a purple “Maneki Neko” (beckoning cat) figurine. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “are different to those spoken to Another.”

The 30th image is a close up of a metronome with a swinging pendulum.

The 31st image is a close up of a can of Unico brand black beans. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “A woman makes the beans.”

The 32nd image is a close up of a brown toast. We hear the voice of Alexander. Alexander’s Voice: “A man makes the toast.”

This shot slowly dissolves into the last shot. The 33rd shot is a close up of a metronome with a swinging pendulum.

This last image slowly fades to black. The film ends.

 

Coconut Curry Chicken by Jacob Raubvogel

Description of Coconut Curry

This is a colour video of 3-minute in duration produced by Jacob Raubvogel. It narrates how Jacob's mother prepares coconut curry chicken for her family. Jacob captures the entire cooking process in detail as his mother prepares the ingredients and carefully makes this delicious meal for the whole family to enjoy.

The title of the film “Coconut Curry Chicken” appears in blue font, overlaid above a close up shot of the coconut curry chicken bubbling away in a pan. Jacob’s mom first turns on the stove. As the fire heats up the water, she pours a cup of basmati rice into the boiling water. These close up shots are accompanied by an upbeat and jazzy music. The songtitle for this music is titled “Elegant Jazz: Ambient.” The source is from Hooksounds: https://www.hooksounds.com.


The same upbeat music accompanies the entire film. The next series of shots show Jacob’s mom stirring the pot of rice. As the camera reframes, we see the delicious rice cooking as Jacob’s mother pours some chicken stock into the rice. She is seen next in a medium shot, peeling some garlic for the dish. In the next series of shots, Jacob’s mother pours some olive oil in the pan, puts the crushed garlic that she prepared earlier in, and begins to stir the ingredients. In these shots, the camera always begins with a close up of how she prepares the food and reframes to reveal the delicious food cooking. The next shot shows a medium shot of her back, continuing to stir the ingredients in the pan. Jacob’s mother picks up a plate of diced up chicken and slowly puts all of the chicken pieces into the pan. Next she stirs the chicken, and adds diced carrots and the curry paste from a jar. This is all captured in close ups and fluid camera movements that reframe subtly to capture the different angles of how Jacob’s mother prepares this delicious meal. When the chicken is all cooked, she adds some diced onions and pour some coconut milk into the pan. Viewers are shown the steam emanating from the coconut chicken, now almost ready. The next shot begins with a long shot of the kitchen. As the camera pans down, we see a long shot of Jacob’s mother putting finishing touches to her dish. Next, Jacob’s mother prepares the naan, which will be eaten with the coconut curry chicken. In a series of close ups, Jacob’s mother first places three naan in a lined baking sheet; she then brushes melted butter generously on the naan. In a close up, she places the naan into a preheated oven and slowly closes the oven door. As the naan is being heated in the oven, Jacob’s mother brings plates and utensils to the dinner table and begins setting the table. In both close ups and medium close ups, we see her setting the table slowly. The camera reframes at times to reveal the beautiful china set and silverware being neatly placed on an oak table. Now that the table is all set, Jacob’s mother takes out the naan, which is now golden brown and crispy and ready to be served. Next, she removes the basmati rice from the pot. In a successive of two shots, viewers see in close ups how she pours the rice and then the chicken curry into serving pans. She brings the plate of chicken curry to the table. In the last shot, the entire family starts to sit down at the table and begins to dig into the delicious meal.

 

Leave The Light On by Ying Ying Pan

Description of Leave the Light On

This is a coloured video of a bit over two minutes long produced by Ying Ying Pan. The film consists of a series of shots taken from the perspective of Ying Ying Pan as she walks around her home, looking at the different objects, both traditional Chinese and Western such as the Christmas tree, in her house. Throughout the film, we can see many first-person point-of-view shots taken from inside the home looking outside. The film begins with a shot of the front door and the light is switched on. The 2nd shot shows Ying Ying looking at the objects in her living room. There is a Christmas tree fully decorated and Chinese landscape painting and calligraphy artwork hanging on the walls. This is followed by the 3rd shot of the grey skies outside. We enter back into the house and there is now a close up of a piano and the sound of the ticking clock in the background. In the 5th shot, we hear raindrops hitting against the windowpane and the image is a close up of the wet window from within the house overlooking an empty neighborhood lined with cars. The 6th shot is a close up of the stove and the various Chinese condiments, accompanied by the sound of the exhaust fan. The 7th shot shows an empty backyard, overlooking a line of houses. The backyard is covered with snow, and we hear crunching sounds as a person walks across or shovels the snow. The 8th shot begins with a close up of the piano. The camera slowly pans up to show a number of certificates for academic achievements hanging on the wall. The 9th shot is a first-person point-of-view shot of someone walking through the snow-covered pavement making a series of visible footprints. The sound that accompanies this shot is of crunching snow. Shot 10 is a close up of a piano; the camera reframes downward and then upward to reveal a wall lined with framed awards. Shot 11 is a long take recorded from within the home looking outside the window at night. This close-up shot of the window reveals a heavy rainfall is underway. There are lightning and thunder and the shot is dark. The changing images captured by this shot are blurred due to the rain and at times we can see the neighborhood houses when the thunder strikes, while the image is clear at brief moments. The sound of thunder and rain is heard in the background. The 12th shot is again a point-of-view shot of someone opening the door of the pantry and looking at the non-perishable food items in it. This shot is accompanied by the sound of the person walking and opening the door. Shot 13 is the last shot of the film. It is a close-up shot of the front door. The shot begins with the porch light on and it ends with someone switching off the lights outside. The film ends.

 

Seasons by Ali Fazal

Description of Seasons

This is a color video of almost 3-minute long produced by Ali Fazal. Its narrative follows the daily experiences of Laurier college student Monisha in Waterloo. Monisha is an immigrant from India. In this video, we see her feeling nostalgic for her homeland as she has to celebrate Diwali alone without her family. She tries to feel connected to her homeland and family by eating Indian snacks, buying food products from an Indian grocery store, dressing in her traditional clothes, and performing an Indian-style dance.

The film begins with a series of images of close ups showing different Indian food items like jalebi, chickpea flour chips, and Indian tea. The next series of shots show Monisha sitting in her room gazing outside her windows, overlooking Waterloo. The next series of shots are medium shots of Monisha, captured in profile, walking toward her kitchen. She opens her fridge. The camera is situated behind her. Out of the different choices in the fridge, it is the jalebi she chooses. The camera reframes as she walks toward her kitchen counter and opens her box of jalebi. The next image is a close up of the box of jalebi. As Monisha takes out a piece of the snack, the camera reframes to a medium shot of her taking a bite into this delicious Indian snack. The next series of images are medium shots showing Monisha working at her computer. This sequence ends with Monisha eating her dinner with a smile on her face; there is an inset of an image of shrimp curry and rice on the upper left portion of the screen. This image is replaced by an image of the store front of an Indian grocery store.

This scene begins with a shot of three images of Indian food items. Monisha is now in the store. Monisha stands in an aisle full of haircare products. Now living in Canada, Monisha remembers her homeland. Upon seeing the Vatika oil, she fondles her own hair and remembers how her mother used to massage oil into her hair to maintain its thickness and volume. Later, Monisha gazes longingly at a jar of achar (mango pickle). This scene ends with a still image of Monisha conversing with the store owner as she checks out her item at the cashier counter.

Now, Monisha is back home. It is now nighttime as she sits at her desk looking outside her windows. These shots capture Monisha in medium profile. The next three shots capture Monisha putting on her lipstick and fixing her traditional Indian clothing as she admires her image in the bathroom mirror.

In the next shot, Monisha is shown practicing her Indian style dance. The screen is divided into 5 panels. The center panel occupies the largest area and it shows Monisha’s fluid motions as she dances. The four other panels that occupy the four corners of the screen are smaller. Each of these panels will appear successively one after another. Each panel will show a different motion and key point in her dance routine. The shot is replaced by the next image of the film by a wiping motion from right to left.

The shot is a still image of Monisha dressed in her winter puffer jacket standing in front of a fence and next to Christmas lights decoration in a pattern of a Canadian flag. The background of this image shows a couple of high rises. The next image is a long shot of Monisha as she walks away from the camera at night, along a road lined with trees that are decorated with Christmas lights. The final shot is an intertitle showing the title of the film and the following bullet points beneath. The bullet points read: 1. divisions of the year: spring, summer, autumn, winter; and 2. Indian food is spicy, tasty, and seasoned.

 

Two Cups of Tea by Mansi Jaswal and Zoha Haider

Description of Two Cups

This is a colour video of roughly 3 minute long produced by Mansi Jaswal and Zoha Haider. It consists of a series of close ups of morning rituals like making tea, and shots of traditional Indian and Western-style jewelry, among other objects. The series of shots are accompanied by voice-over narrations by Mansi Jaswal and Zoha Haider reflecting on their different perspectives toward living in Canada as young people of South Asian descent. While Mansi came to Canada as an immigrant from India, Zoha was born in Canada. Their differences can be seen and heard in their commentaries of tea making. Towards the end of the film, Zoha learns to embrace her Indian identity and grows to love her culture, while Mansi on the other realizes that wherever she goes, her culture will be with her.

The film begins with close up shots of boiling water in a pot, and the spices in a mortar and pestle being crushed. These shots are accompanied by sounds of boiling water and sounds of spices being crushed. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “When I first came to Canada from India, I was upset because I did not think I would find the tea packets to make my chai. Making chai in the morning was a therapeutic process that determined the way in which my day would go.”

Next is a shot of an assortment of Indian jewelry. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “Being born in Canada, I was used to rejecting heavy and bold Indian jewellery and opting for simple Indian inspired pieces instead. That felt like the first step to washing away my culture.”

Viewers are now shown how Mansi makes her morning cup of tea. She puts spices in the boiling water first, followed by dropping in a tea bag. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “Crushing the cardamon pods and cloves to create an irresistible aroma to infuse the water was something that I looked forward to. I would watch as the water bubbled and created a sense of tranquility within my own home.”

Zoha shows us her bindi collection in a close up shot, which is accompanied by her voice-over. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “It felt like the second step to washing away my culture when the other Canadian girls would mock my bindi, but would wear them to music festivals themselves.”

Mansi continues her morning tea making ritual by cutting up a piece of ginger and placing it in her pot. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “I remember when I was five years old and my grandmother put ginger in my tea for the first time. She whispered about the magical healing powers of ginger, and that it would soothe my fever and alleviate my headaches.”

Zoha continues to show us her jewelry collection. The jewelry hitting against the surface of her desk can be heard in the background. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zhoa’s voice: “I didn’t want to wear the bangles my grandmother gave me. I wanted the one’s Ashley wore at school. That felt like the third step to washing away my culture.”

Mansi shows us her spice collection. She takes out a bit of turmeric powder and sprinkle it in her boiling tea. As her tea continues to boil, she drizzles a bit of honey over it. When her tea is done, she carefully and methodically pours her tea over a strainer. The shots are taken from her perspective and we feel a sense of intimacy to her daily tea making ritual. The shots would at times be clouded by the steam from the boiling tea. This series of shots ends with an extreme closeup of her perfect cup of tea. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “My ancestors always talked about the benefits of turmeric in tea. I believed turmeric was the answer to every problem. It was like a cloak of innocence being lifted away the first time someone told me that turmeric stains were disgusting.  Yet, it felt like a ray of positivity to see my milk turn yellow with the colour of turmeric.  Like I had a piece of sunshine in my tea that would keep me safe and warm throughout the day.  Honey was the bit of sweetness that helped ease my bitter days. The beautiful brown glaze as it poured into the turmeric tea was an enchanting sight that I feared would be lost in Canada. It was a rush to watch the milk boil until it reached the tip of the pot.  That was the point of no return, the tea would either spill over and ruin my day or it would simmer down and create the perfect cup of tea. To strain the tea before pouring it in the cup was metaphorically linked with only allowing the positivity within bad to spill in and leaving the negativity out.  That was my perfect cup of tea.”

Next, we also see Zoha making her morning cup of tea. However, she uses a Keurig machine. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “In Canada, I had the convenience of tea to go. This notion was much different in India.”

Mansi holds a bottle of face scrub made in India. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “I found a piece of my culture when I found an Indian face mask at the store.”

Zoha continues to make her tea. A close up shot shows boiling water passing through the Keurig machine into her cup. The sound of water hitting against her mug is heard in the background. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “I never made my chai in the mornings, I always had it made for me within minutes by a barista.”

Mansi shows us a plastic tube of her aloe vera gel. The camera slowly moves into the gel to show us an extreme close up of the logo on the tube. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “It felt like another step in finding my culture when I bought Indian brand aloe-gel at a Canadian store.”

Zoha finishes making her tea, which looks quite different from the tea that Mansi makes. The color is of light orange. She doesn’t put any milk or spices in her tea. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “I never had to make tea. On a snowy day, I used my Keurig. I was too busy to make tea and didn’t understand the process.”

Mansi holds up three boxes of fake eyelashes to reveal the brands of these commercially made lashes. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “I found my Indian culture again when I saw businesses use names for products inspired by my culture.”

Zoha finishes making her tea now by putting in some creamer in it. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “It wasn't until my trip to India, where I realized tea making is a therapeutic process.”

Mansi holds a box of bobby pins and pour some pins out of the box. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “I truly found my culture when I began to see it everywhere. Even in things as small as bobby pins.”

Zoha finishes her tea now by sprinkling some cinnamon on top of it. This shot is a close up of her cup of tea. It is followed by a handheld shot showing her jewelry collection. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “I didn’t even know about turmeric, the only spice I grew up with was the cinnamon in my chai tea latte from Starbucks. It was when I came to India where I realized my own cultural citizenship. Canada stripped my culture away, yet also enhanced it by fusing together Indian and Westernized culture.”

The film ends with two shots. One shot shows Mansi’s Indian jewelry collection laid over a surface covered by luscious red velvet cloth. The shot is a handheld shot that slowly reframes to reveal her glittering collection. We hear the voice of Mansi. Mansi’s voice: “It was not until I came to Canada that I realized my culture would follow me wherever I go. It was not tied to any geographical location, but rather bound to my soul. There would be sprinkles of it within the turmeric located in the Indian aisle at the grocery store. Although some of the flavour could be changed, the presence of the culture does not vanish.”

The film ends with a shot of Zoha telling us that she prefers her Starbucks. We hear the voice of Zoha. Zoha’s voice: “I prefer Starbucks over turmeric tea. It doesn’t taste the same but the sentiment of having my culture in the chai tea is enough.” This shot shows a close up of an ornamental cup and it’s pushed away by Zoha with her Starbucks mug, decorated with Christmas ornaments. The film ends.

 

World Citizen by Camila Cote Zapata

Description of World Citizen

This is a colour video of a bit over 3 minute long produced by Camila Cote Zapata. It consists of a series of long takes, and still establishing shots as well as closer shots of different urban-scapes and natural landscapes of various places that Camila Zapata has lived in. Camila has lived in Medellin (Columbia), Pamplona (Spain), Wagenignen (Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium), Stoke-on-Trent (UK) and Strepy Bracquegnies (Belgium). This video represents her journeys in some of these places. The first series of shots take place in Medellin, the city where she grew up. Shots of the forest and the downtown are of high rises, accompanied with the sounds of birds chirping and dogs barking. The shots are captured during the early morning and later afternoon of the city. In the next series of shots, we are in Pamplona. There are close ups of tree branches and an extreme long shot of a public park with a water fountain. We see people walking in the background. The next shot is of Camila’s university at dusk. The third location that this short film takes us to is Strepy Bracquegnies. Shots of a museum, and natural landscapes of the city are captured in serene long shots. Finally, we are back in Medellin. However, instead of re-entering Medellin in colour cinematography, Camila decides to present her childhood city with a black and white upside down shot of the cityscape, representing her childhood memories and past experiences in Medellin. The next series of shots represent the daily experiences of her childhood studying in a Catholic school and strolling in a city filled with pineapple and yellow trees. A close up of a cross, close up of pinecones, a low angle shot of a yellow tree, are all captured in striking bold colours. The background sounds consist of pedestrians talking and the sound of wind blowing against tree branches. The final shot is a reduced size of one moment in the three-panel video from Sarindar Dhaliwal’s video olive, almond & mustard (2010). The shot consists of the Indian countryside taken from the perspective of a moving train. The journeys that Camila has taken is represented by a moving black line, like an itinerary on a map in a conventional documentary, joining the cities Medllin, Pamplona, and Strepy-B now seen not as beautiful landscapes but as bold black dots along the perimeter of the three-panel video footage from Dhaliwal’s film. The film ends.