Naeem Mohaiemen
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Two Meetings and a Funeral

Two Meetings and a Funeral 
Three-channel Film | 89 mins | 2017
Marxist historian Vijay Prashad writes, in his book on third world liberation movements: “The Third World was not a place, but a project.” This was a utopian forum where the global South hoped to reconfigure planetary leadership, ending Euro-American dominance. The Third World project failed not only because of external enemies, but also due to its tragic mistake of a 1970s pivot from socialism to Islamism as unifying ideology.

Traveling through the residue of “gigantism” in transnational architecture (Niemeyer, Moretti, Le Corbusier) in Algiers, Dhaka, and New York, and in conversation with Vijay Prashad, Samia Zennadi, Atef Berredjem, Amirul Islam, and Zonayed Saki, the film explores the tension between the Nonaligned Movement (NAM) and Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Art Forum: “Specifically, many works in the show revisit moments when history seemed open-ended—those fragile junctures in which various futures were equally possible and plausible before they became concretized, especially in the trajectories of the emerging nation-states that would go on to constitute the Global South..”

ArtAsiaPacific: "By anchoring his work with extended shots of entirely repurposed or largely empty architectural relics of Third Worldism, Mohaiemen shows his viewers the physical remnants of NAM’s evaporated utopian aspirations, suggesting that these monuments are key sites for the tracing of a historical continuum that is rife with ruptures."

BFI Film Forever: “Cinema found itself in a strange position at the 2017 documenta, {...} That was because film got away with things the rest of the arts at documenta 14 generally didn’t – for instance, being communicative, argumentative, accessible, sensual and sometimes even playful.”

Frieze: “[T]he political and economic relations that it narrates are complex and tangled. They are also bloody: the roll call at the end of the film, which includes a statement by and brief biography of each of its protagonists, includes such figures as Muammar Gaddafi, who appears, young and handsome, in an archival clip from the early 1970s, and Yasser Arafat (‘Palestine is the cement that holds the Arab world together, or it is the explosive that blow it apart’) in his trademark dark glasses. Deftly avoiding the twin traps of moralizing and nostalgia, Two Meetings’ critical assessment of NAM and its failure is prescient in its analysis of how international relations fall apart.”

MoMA Post: “The fact that a large portion of the audience, including the charismatic liberators, all had their headphones off during Rajaratnam’s speech is a telltale sign they were not really listening to him. His warnings to evolve, and to control the means of technological production, went largely unheard. I am interested to sometimes imagine an alter-history—one where the writer Rajaratnam (who was mentored by George Orwell), rather than the charismatic guerrilla leader Fidel Castro, could have been the leader of that 1973 NAM summit. That is the history that did not come to pass—whether it would have delivered a version of socialism that could have survived, we will never know.”

Ocula: “Throughout documenta 14, peoples and places are connected by a common struggle: for access to common resources that larger powers seek to claim and limit, often violently.”

KEY EXHIBITIONS

Dhaka, Bangladesh: Abdur Rajjak Bidyapith, Bengal Foundation, 2017.

Ramallah, Palestine: “Solidarity Must Be Defended,” Mahmoud Darwish Museum, 2017.

Beirut, Lebanon: Beirut Art Center, c2018.

Sharjah, UAE: Works from thecollection, Bait Ghuloom Ibrahim, 2018.

Lahore, Pakistan: Lahore Biennial, Alhamra Art Center, 2018.

Copenhagen: #whatif, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, 2018.

Budapest, Hungary: “Propositions for Pan-Peripheral Network,” Metal Workers’ Union, 2018.

Tunis, Tunisia: Jaou Tunis, Kamal Lazhaar Foundation/Ibraaz, 2018

Labin, Croatia: Labin Industrial Biennial, Brioni, curated by WHW, 2018.

Liverpool, UK: Liverpool Biennial, 2018.

Seoul, Korea: National Museum of Modern Art, 2018.

Ljubljana, Slovenia: “Southern Constellations: Poetics of the Non-Aligned’, Museum of Modern Art, 2019.