Poem written and narrated by Mohamad Kebbewar and Natasha Boskic.
Poem edited by Natasha Boskic.
Photographs of Serbia, Natasha Boskic
Photographs of Syria, sounds of bombing, Mohamad Kebbewar
Creative Concept, Artist and Filmmaker, Mary McDonald
Background of the Film
Poets Natasha Boskic and Mohamad Kebbewar were excited to work together since their countries, Serbia and Syria, experienced similar fates. When weaving their verses together, their lines overlapped, their words chased each other. Their voices echoed with the same emptiness, recognizing a human soul can be peeled, layer by layer, revealed through art. They connected with artist, Mary McDonald whose interests lie in posing poetry narrative against and within layers of sound, silence, image, video, to create a poetry film and Augmented Reality (AR) installation.
Fragmented layers of sound and image within the poetry film and AR exhibit reproduce a sense of displacement and erasure, exposing the reverberating loss of destruction of people and place, family, heritage, traditions, cultures. The AR exhibit consists of a mosaic of stills. When viewed with the AR app on a smartphone, these stills become short video clips. These fragments explore the surreal experience of displacement.
On the Margin of History is witness to destruction of ancient history and sharp demographic change in Aleppo, city of six million people that lost ninety percent of its residents over six years, then filled with new people. It is witness to the breakdown of former Yugoslavia, culminating in the NATO bombing of Serbia where silence was the only response to events that left people shocked, disbelieving. It’s a transdisciplinary project considering tensions between personal voice and possibilities within digital visual to suggest and reinforce false narratives and/or create understandings through metaphor, playing with all levels of perception. Text is digitally exploded, creating reverberating echoes of lost words, lost truths.
Mohamad Kebbewar was born and raised in Aleppo. His poetry deals with the destruction of his ancient birthplace--Aleppo and the impact of the war on civil society. His poetry has appeared in Prism International, Iconoclast, and The Nashwaak Review. He recently published a poetry chapbook, The Soap of Aleppo, by JackPine Press.
Natasha Boskic is originally from Serbia. She moved to Canada with her two children in 1999. Since then she has been living in Vancouver, Canada. She works at the University of British Columbia (UBC). A long history of family storytelling, folk tales and legends as well as her personal life experience and current times have shaped and directed her writing. Interested in technology as a new landscape for literary expression, she experiments with new media. She obtained a Ph.D. in Language and Literacy at UBC, with a focus on ethics and narratives in gameworlds. Her poetry and narratives have been published in a number of literary journals (ditch, Quills, Allegro Poetry, Visual Verse, The Post Feminist Post: Modern Romance, Dragonfly), anthologies (Timeless Voices, Alive at the Centre: An Anthology of Poems from the Pacific NorthWest) and special publications (Fugue in F minor: Explorations in the Subject of Equality, NHCF of BC Newsmagazine, On the Consequences of Hate Speech).
Mary McDonald is a Canadian writer and multimedia artist. McDonald is passionate about exploiting digital technology to bring text and multimedia art into community, historic and natural spaces in ways that consider word through sound, image, and movement. McDonald's multidisciplinary practice encompasses text, photography, poetryfilm, music and sound art, AR (augmented reality) installation, and community participatory arts projects. Her poetry films have been shown internationally and the collaborative AR installation, On the Margin of History has been exhibited at the Glucksman Gallery in Cork, Ireland and in Porto, Portugal. Mary was awarded a Community Arts Investment Program grant by the London Arts Council for, River Revery AR/poetry film/transmedia storytelling collaboration with poet, Penn Kemp. McDonald is head of Creative/Interactive at interweaving.media. Mary taught at international schools in Africa and Asia after graduating with B.A./B.Ed. degrees from Trent and Queen’s University. She is pursuing her Master’s of Educational Technology (MET) degree through the University of British Columbia.