Casual Encounters: The Untroubled Mind and Nervous Translation
6 April 2022
Commissioned essay on pairing of Manon de Boer’s The Untroubled Mind (2016) and Shireen Seno’s Nervous Translation (2018) as part of The Machine That Kills Bad People film club at ICA, London to accompany screening 6 April 2022.
Set in the Philippines in the late 1980s, not long after the People Power Revolution that led to the fall of President Marcos, Shireen Seno’s second feature Nervous Translation evokes the uncertainty and precarity of those years through the eyes of its shy eight-year-old protagonist. Yael cooks meals on her miniature kitchen set, watches soap operas on television with her mother and obsessively listens to cassette tapes recorded by her father, a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia. At once playful and sad, Nervous Translation is above all concerned with what it feels like to be a child.
Manon de Boer’s The Untroubled Mind is a collection of images of constructions of the artists’ son filmed over a period of three years. The duration of each shot is around 20 seconds, the length of time you can film with a Bolex 16 mm camera when winding it manually.
The Machine That Kills Bad People is held bi-monthly in the ICA Cinema and is programmed by Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson, Maria Palacios Cruz and Ben Rivers.