The phenomenon of bilocation refers to a state of being in multiple places at the same moment—a split not between “here” and “elsewhere,” but between two or more “heres.” The concept has a long history in mysticism, folklore, and popular culture, appearing as a miraculous ability of figures as diverse as Christian saints, Aleister Crowley, and Vladimir Lenin.
In this presentation, Basma Alsharif explores her interest in this phenomenon, which developed while making a film under autohypnosis in three locations: Malta, Athens, and the Gaza Strip. In Doppelgänger, she will examine the history of bilocation and, with reference to her own practice as an artist and filmmaker, the way in which it might enable the moving image to embody the Palestinian perspective. Moving through an investigation of the double in film history, Alsharif will outline and challenge traditional deployments of this trope that mobilize it as a Manichean symbol for inner conflict and turmoil. She will presentbilocation in an alternate framework that rejects binarism in favor of intersectionality and multiplicity. As a Palestinian who grew up and continues to live nomadically, she departs from her own context to consider what it means to inhabit the realm of the “and” rather than the “either/or.” Alsharif will further explore autohypnosis as a psychological act; one that highlights the fallibility of memory and asks us to consider the weight of our presence in the world.