Psychic Refuge: Commissions Programme
September 2021 – Ongoing
A series of micro-commissions in response to Sophie Hoyle's Psychic Refuge
Forma and artist Sophie Hoyle are pleased to present a series of commissions developed in response to ‘Psychic Refuge’, a cross-disciplinary digital resource which consolidates the period of research and development undertaken by Sophie as part of their collaboration with Unlimited and Forma in the 2019/20 round of Partnership grants.
Following the launch of ‘Psychic Refuge’ in Spring 2021, Hoyle has invited artists and collectives to elaborate responses and actions in relation to the project, through film, music and text. These include Habibi Collective between 1–5 September 2021 followed by Alaa Abu Asad, Inas Halabi and Radio Alhara.
We encourage users of the site to donate to Aswat, the Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms.
Psychic Refuge programme supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Film Screening: ‘They Do Not Exist’ (1974)
1 - 5 September 2021
Online at psychicrefuge.com
Organised in collaboration with Habibi Collective, the first in this series of commissions is a film screening of They Do Not Exist and fundraiser for Aswat, the Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms.
They Do Not Exist will be screened on the Psychic Refuge website for a restricted period, launching on Wednesday 1st September until Sunday 5th September.
Salvaged from Beirut, They Do Not Exist has only recently been made available. It is attributed to Mustafa Abu Ali who was a founder of the Palestinian Film Unit (PFU), a department of the Palestinan Liberation Organisation (PLO). After the PLO's move to Lebanon following the events of Black September (1970-71), the PFU was renamed the Palestine Cinema Institute, and Abu Ali led the department from 1973 to 1975.
Shooting under extraordinary conditions, They Do Not Exist takes its title from the remark made by former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir that the Palestinians do not exist. We watch video and archival footage of Palestinian women in the southern Lebanon Nabatia refugee camp, the narration is a girl reading a letter she penned to a fedayee.
They Do Not Exist is a stylistically unique work which demonstrates the intersection between the political and the aesthetic; Ali trained under Godard. The film only received its Palestine premiere in 2003, when a group of Palestinian artists "smuggled" the director to a makeshift cinema in his hometown of Jerusalem.
We encourage viewers to donate to Aswat, the Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms. Established in 2003 as a small group and registered in 2018 as a community-based organization, Aswat is a vibrant feminist-queer movement for sexual and gender freedoms in Palestine. They work to provide services, training, knowledge and spaces for discussion and expression for LBTQI women, teachers and school staffers, civil society activists, professional service providers and community leaders.
Image still from They Do Not Exist (1974)
Psychic Refugeis a digital resource which gathers contemporary understandings and applications of trauma studies and psychology, PTSD and treatments in the context of Palestinian occupation. It pairs new writing and digital content by the artist with contributions from related organisations and experts, plus direction to relevant external resources. Text will be available to read in both English and Arabic. The website was designed and developed by Studio Hyte to prioritise accessibility, including integrating options for specialised functions.
Sophie Hoyle is an artist and writer whose practice explores an intersectional approach to post-colonial, queer, feminist, critical psychiatry and disability issues. Their work looks at the relation of the personal to (and as) political, individual and collective anxieties, and how alliances can be formed where different kinds of inequality and marginalisation intersect. They relate personal experiences of being queer, non-binary and part of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) diaspora to wider forms of structural violence. From lived experience of psychiatric conditions and trauma, or PTSD, they began to explore the history of biomedical technologies rooted in state and military surveillance and control. @semhoyle
Habibi Collective is a digital archive, podcast and curatorial platform for women’s cinema from South-West Asia and North Africa (SWANA). Habibi Collective has generated an international cinema community, and has hosted numerous screening events at institutions, such as at MoMA and Sharjah Art Foundation, festivals and community spaces across the world. The podcast has welcomed guests such as Alia Shawkat and Annemarie Jacir; Habibi Collective has also hosted multiple community fundraiser events for those affected by conflict in the region. Habibi Collective also powers SHASHA, the world’s first independent streaming service for SWANA cinema. Founded in 2018 by Róisín Tapponi, she was joined in 2021 by friends and cinema workers Shahnaz Dulaimy, Reman Sadani, Louise Gholam, Bella Barkett and Nour Helou. For more, follow: @habibicollective.
Forma and all who work at Forma support the people of Palestine in their calls for justice. We share the Artists for Palestine UK vision of 'a world where Palestinians and Israelis have the right to live with dignity, freedom, justice and equality'. We encourage creatives, our partners and audiences to demand that our government take action and hold Israel to account for its violation of Palestinian rights and the violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people.