Rania Stephan

Artist and filmmaker, born in Beirut, Lebanon, Rania Stephan graduated in Cinema Studies from Latrobe University, Australia and Paris VIII University, France. She has directed videos and creative documentaries notable for their play with genres, and the long-running investigation of memory, identity, archeology of image and the figure of the detective. Anchored in the turbulent reality of her country, her documentaries give a personal perspective to political events. She gives raw images a poetic edge, filming chance encounters with compassion and humour. The work on archival material has also been an underlying enquiry in her art work. Approaching still and moving images like an editor – part detective, part cinephile, she traces the absence and remembrance that are originary to those images. She has had solo exhibitions as well as group exhibitions and partici-pated in residency programs. Her feature film “The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni” (2011) received critical acclaim and won numerous prizes. Her art work is represented by Marfa’ Gallery Beirut, Lebanon, where she lives and works.

Me & My Shadow

“At the heart of the poem, there is another poem, at the heart of the heart, there is an absence, at the heart of the absence, lies my shadow.”

I came across these words by accident, as I was preparing these lines. They are by an argentine poetess, Alejandra Pizarnik, who committed suicide at the age of 36. They exemplify my practice of editing as an artistic tool for creating films and images.
Working with archives, one is faced straightaway with a thing inside another thing. Using examples from my work, (Train-Trains 1, Memories for a Private Eye, Threshold), I would like to centre my talk on the act of editing: how I see it as a tool of resistance that nuances our representation of the world through film. I will focus not only on the films themselves, but the different digital editing tools at my disposal (Avid, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere) and how these tools can shape our relation to the material itself.