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Screening: Reza Abdoh - The Blind Owl

  • Ulises 31 East Columbia Avenue, 19125 (map)

Please join us for a screening of Reza Abdoh's The Blind Owl along with an introduction by Bidoun Senior Editor Michael C. Vazquez. This will be the final program presented by Bidoun in conjunction with Publishing As Practice, an experimental publisher-in-residence project hosted by Ulises and funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Reza Abdoh was celebrated for his immersive and maximalist theatre productions, which drew on Greek myth, cable television, BDSM and fairy tales, and made use of unusual urban spaces and audio-visual media. Yet had Abdoh not passed away at the too-young age of thirty-two, he almost certainly would have become a filmmaker of renown.

The Blind Owl (1992) is Abdoh’s only complete feature film. Shot in and around East Los Angeles with members of his Dar a Luz theatre ensemble between performances of the play Bogeyman (1991), the film provides a curious counterpoint to Abdoh’s immersive, maximalist, adrenaline-fueled theater productions. Its narrative explores abjection, illness, and belonging through a diverse cast of characters, including sex workers, a diabetic mortician and his caregiver, and a blind man and his disabled transgender companion. The Blind Owl unfurls amid an atmosphere of melancholy that, although often moving, is wholly devoid of affect. The film’s slow, meditative pacing and contemplative posture have inspired comparisons to theater director Robert Wilson’s symbolist work, the films of Robert Bresson, and the 1960s American TV show, The Outer Limits.

Bidoun—whose work as a nonprofit and former print magazine focuses on art and culture from the Middle East and its diasporas—is Ulises’s third publisher resident as part of Publishing As Practice.

Publishing as Practice is a three-part publishing residency, designed to explore publishing as an incubator for new forms of editorial, curatorial, and artistic practice.

Earlier Event: July 18
Low-Residency MFA Open Studio Night
Later Event: July 19
Judy Gelles - Fourth Grade Project