Trailer, 2011, presents an alternative edit from Shezad Dawood’s science-fiction feature film Piercing Brightness as a 15-minute, experimental “trailer”. As a recognized cinematic format, Trailer belies its own title, playing with typical expectations of the duration and role of a trailer in relation to a full-length film.
Using science fiction as a genre through which to examine subjects such as race, migration and cultural displacement in ways that mainstream culture often cannot, Dawood creates a complex narrative that blends fiction with various aspects of documentary filmmaking. Incorporating seven main characters and four languages (Arabic, English, Mandarin, and Urdu) – one of them adapted by Dawood to represent an ‘alien language’ – the film encompasses a variety of scenes and visual effects, combining socio-political commentary with the fantastical and bizarre.
Set in Preston in the north of England – the place where the Mormon Church first took root in Britain and which now ranks the highest in the UK in observed UFO activity – the film centers around the story of the “Glorious 100”, an elite group of aliens who came to the town centuries ago with the aim of learning about human life and civilization. Assimilated into the community as shop-keepers, taxi drivers and others, the 100 now have to return home, a task that proves more challenging for some due to their acquired familiarity and comfort level with their adopted environment. Trailer was commissioned by In Certain Places in association with Modern Art Oxford. This presentation of Trailer is courtesy of Shezad Dawood and LUX, London.
About Shezad Dawood
Shezad Dawood (b.1974, London) works across various media and draws on multiple references including Sufism, pop culture, literature and structural filmmaking. Dawood was one of the winners of the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize. His previous solo exhibitions include: Piercing Brightness, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK (2012), New Dream Machine Project, L’Appartement22, Rabat, Morocco (2011); Piercing Brightness, Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, UK (2011); Intensive Surfaces, Århus Kunstbygning, Århus (2010), Feature:Architecture, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2008); Journey to the End of the Night, Riccardo Crespi Gallery, Milan (2008); Until the End of the World, Third Line, Dubai (2008), and If I Should Fall From Grace With God, Paradise Row, London (2007). He has also participated in group shows including: Generation in Transition, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2011); Altermodern: Tate Triennial Tate Britain, London (2009); and Indian Highway, Serpentine Gallery, London (2008). Dawood completed both his MA and MPhil in Fine Art (Photography) at the Royal College of Art.
Image credits: Shezad Dawood, Trailer, Production Still, 2011, courtesy of UBIK Productions Ltd . Photography Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz
The New Commissions Program is made possible by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services; Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; and Affirmation Arts Fund. Support has also been provided by Commissioners’ Circle leaders Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters Sandra Ho and Jang Kim, Cher Lewis, and Joyce and Ken Siegel; and Commissioners’ Circle members Sue Berland, Roya Khadjavi Heidari, Sean Johnson, Mary Lapides, Steve Shane, and Jeremy E. Steinke.
General support of Art in General is provided by General Tools & Instruments LLC; Lambent Fund of the Tides Foundation; Abraham and Lillian Rosenberg Foundation; Bloomberg Philanthropies; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Enoch Foundation; Ralph E. Ogden Foundation; ConEdison; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Foundation for Contemporary Arts; and by individuals.