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Project Premiere: Naeem Mohaiemen's "The Young Man Was" Premieres in Toronto, New York and Bangladesh

April 26, 2012

Naeem Mohaiemen, still from
May 1 & 3: World Premiere at Hot Docs, Toronto, Canada
May 11: Bangladesh Premiere, multiple university venues
May 20: New York Premiere at Anthology Film Archives

In May, Naeem Mohaiemen (2008 Visual Arts) will premiere his film The Young Man Was, Part 1: United Red Army in three countries. On May 1, the film will have its world premiere in Toronto at Hot Docs, a leading documentary film festival. On May 20, it will have a New York premiere at Anthology Film Archives as part of Migrating Forms. And throughout May, there will be multiple screenings of the film at university venues in Bangladesh. Mohaiemen also has two exhibitions in May of a timeline wall installation, a companion to the film, at A Space Gallery in Toronto (through May 26) and at Frieze New York with Experimenter Gallery (May 4-7).

United Red Army looks at the 1977 hijacking of JAL flight 472 to Dhaka, Bangladesh, by the Japanese Red Army. Framing this action as a pivot point that ends "Act One of a certain 1970s scene," Mohaiemen explores how the event led to a hardline change in global governments' stance on hostage negotiations. The film is constructed from audio recordings of the negotiations between the Dhaka control tower and the lead hijacker, with tension building as "the accord between ransom and reason gives way to breaking point" (Shumon Basar, Tank).

United Red Army is a chapter from Mohaiemen's larger Creative Capital-supported project, The Young Man Was, which traces a history of the 1970s "ultra-left," with each chapter in a different medium. Chapters have been presented as journal essay (Sarai 06: Turbulence, "Documenta 12 magazines project", Delhi), live performance (New Museum, New York), video wall (Finnish Museum of Photography), photography-text sequence (Frieze Art Fair, London), installation of lists of the dead (Beauty Boarding, Dhaka), collage (Pavilion, Budapest) and film (presented at Sharjah Biennial, UAE, and now premiering worldwide). The Young Man Was project was included in Art Review's list of 25 "Future Greats" (March 2012) and has received critical praise for "mak[ing] engagements with a revolutionary past meaningful in the sudden eruption of a revolutionary present" (Kaelen Wilson Goldie, Bidoun).

You can watch an excerpt from United Red Army and read related essays by Mohaiemen on our blog, The Lab.

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