Crossing Over Time

Chris Byrne

‘Selecting the works which form Crossing Over Time was both an enjoyable and difficult task. It’s unusual to attempt to encapsulate and present the curatorial vision of others. First, there was the problem of how to represent six years of creative activity by showing less than half the short films produced. Then choosing between different artists’ works. In the end it came down to subjectivity: the likes and dislikes of an individual. As each Crossing Over residency took as its starting point a strong thematic, I was initially concerned that one programme would not naturally ‘emerge’ from the assembled films. I needn’t have worried. Many of the works share something in common, which is a questioning of the given order of things, often expressed through the journey as metaphor for transformation. This is not metaphysics: it’s a reality not only for many of the artists who live and work far from their countries of origin, but also for the two women who have guided Crossing Over from East to West […] Crossing Over Time brings to the fore voices and messages different from those we are used to hearing, a reminder not only that Europe is host to many cultures, but that film-making can express complex ideas and celebrate diversity. Many of the films here challenge our assumptions of ‘Western’ culture: which too often defines the non-Western as ‘other’. A valid response to exclusion from the mainstream, as Dusan Bjelic has noted, is ‘a politics of signification’2, the attempt to define distinct yet diverse identities in opposition to those which are dominant. The Crossing Over initiative is one attempt to help redress the balance, encouraging dialogue and collaboration between cultures, but also an opportunity to communicate difference. As the global cultures of late Capitalism become increasingly homogenous, alternatives to the mainstream provide important strategies for resistance.’ Chris Byrne, 2003