Based in Glasgow’s City Centre, The Centre for Contemporary Art recently hosted an art exhibition by Rehana Zaman called Speaking Nearby which was both hit and miss.

The featured work included insightful interviews, but also episodes consisting of soap-opera acting which was a stark contrast to the interview footage that it was paired with.


The first piece of work by Rehana Zaman was a perfectly insightful interview-based video feature with a woman named Lourdes from Mexico. The video provided a great perspective of her life working on the market and how many other women feel living in Mexico. Eleven minutes long, this video goes in fast as Lourdes’ fun personality and interesting answers unearth the details of her busy working life. The setting, a busy market where Lourdes works, gave a taste of Mexican culture.

The editing of the interview was especially interesting as it still included all the little awkward silences that made the interview seem all that more real. During the video, 3D images came onto the screen of a tongue squirming in a mouth which was an odd contrast to the simple interview footage. That being said, it wasn’t unlikable – it was actually kind of cool and unexpected.

Next was a 6-minute episode piece totalling 49 minutes called Some Women, Other Women and All the Bitter Men. The first most noticeable thing upon walking into the room reserved for this work was the wonderful layout; the room was truly transformed just by how screens were perfectly angled and the use of a curtain. However, the actual episodes were verging on tacky thanks to the cliché soap-opera acting and plot. It was also combined with interview segments wedged in-between which was too far of a contrast and the two types of footage just did not mix.

The interview of the women speaking felt quite stale and quiet compared to the humorous and lively interview with Lourdes.

Unfortunately there is no sound as the audio was played through headphones during the exhibition.

The last exhibit was Citations were a woman called Farah was being interviewed. The interview was chatty, open and insightful as Farah discussed how she believed that all Arabic women were controlled by their husbands and the stereotypes that she believed; she also spoke about coming to the realisation that these stereotypes were not always true.

The interview, which takes place in Farah’s home, understandably made her feel more comfortable. She went on to say why she had such thoughts and told the interviewer how she used to live in an abusive relationship – both physically and mentally.

This interview gives the viewer an understanding as to how people’s perceptions and opinions are shaped based on their life experiences which was great.

Interrupting the interview were weird graphics of a human figure that is seen sinking into herself and vomiting. Again, a stark contrast to the raw and simple interview footage. They didn’t really go together, but I liked the ideas separately.

Overall, this exhibition was okay. Certain aspects were enjoyable and eye-opening and whilst contrast is a good thing it can sometimes be taken too far. The room set-up was really well thought-out and the interviews with Lourdes and Farah gave an insight into how woman live within their different cultures and some of the hardships that they go through.

Read a previous post here





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