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© Mona Hatoum

Measures of Distance, 1988

Mona Hatoum (b. 1952)

Held at the threshold

  • Medium:
    Video, colour and sound
  • Dimensions:
    Running time: 15 minutes 26 seconds
  • Collection:
    Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. A Western Front video production, Vancouver, 1988
  • Coll. No:

In 1975, civil war broke out in Lebanon while the Beirut-born Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum was on a short visit to the UK. While she was stranded in London and separated from her family in Beirut, the letters between Hatoum and her mother were the means of communication that bridge the physical and emotional distance between them. In this video, still images of the artist’s mother showering are superimposed with her handwritten letters in Arabic. On the soundtrack, an animated conversation between Hatoum and her mother, overlaid with Hatoum's voice reading a translation of the letters into English, can be heard.

[Video ID: This film begins with text stating the title and the artist of the work. It fades into a fuzzy image with Arabic text overlaid on the top. This then cuts to clearer footage of a woman showering, with Arabic text overlaid on the top. Different photographs of the same woman showering and Arabic text changes throughout the video. End of ID]