These are some of the questions that artist Marwa Arsanios raises in the latest chapter of her video series Who Is Afraid of Ideology? Each part in the series focuses on alternative social formations and histories of popular resistance in different places. Part I (2017) and Part 2 (2019) emerged from the artist’s research into the Kurdish autonomous women’s movement and Jinwar, a women-only village in the north of Syria. Part 3: Micro Resistencias (2020) centers on Indigenous farmers in Colombia who preserve native seeds from extinction.
With Part 4: Reverse Shot (2022)—the video on view in the Art Institute galleries—the artist took a new and speculative direction. Set in a quarry in the mountains of northern Lebanon, Reverse Shot follows Arsanios and several collaborators as they attempt to extricate a parcel of land from the construct of ownership. The video documents the group’s efforts to change the legal status of the quarry into a common land belonging to the community. Arsanios used a range of visual techniques—from fantastical animation to worm’s-eye-view camera work—to explore the history and future of the land.