In The Eleventh View of Time (2022) artist Basmah Felemban seeks to build an imaginative world, looking beyond the human to offer a different perspective on the city.
For this change of perspective, Felemban narrows the scope to a circle of vision, as we have when shining a flashlight into the dark. Just as nothing can be seen beyond its directed light, here nothing is known of a wider world consisting of interconnected systems. Time is also reduced to “flashes” of now, without past or future.
The viewpoint she takes, however, is that of the catfish. Rather than taking the audience deeper into their own world, they instead enter into that of another species, embarking on the surreal story that brought these fishes from their original home to the middle of the Najd’s desert, through a video projected in the middle of the Ringing Bird Lake in Al Ha-ir, Wadi Hanifa.
The surreal and thought-provoking narratives are based on the Indonesian author Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul’s collection of poems “The Gold Fish” which trace a journey of self-awareness and rebirth from the limited world of a fishbowl to a freedom that was difficult to achieve. This latest work is a continuation of Felemban’s recent investigations into the river fish that inhabit different valleys in Riyadh, raising questions about the origin and immigration story of these particular citizens of Riyadh, as well as general questions about our concept of time and humanity’s relation to the world.