Reading Agatha Christie (2007) was made with a group of Iraqi Kurdish refugees in Birmingham. It shows a number of ‘Middle Eastern’ people trying to read from Christie’s ‘They Came to Baghdad’ in Arabic in a film clearly made for ‘the record’ rather than aesthetic reasons. While the artist and Iraqi cameraman constantly interrupt, giving conflicting instructions, the readers’ expressions subvert the implicit control. This tense and funny film explores the interactions between cultures and emerged from the disquiet I felt about sources of knowledges about the Middle East – I read a lot of of Agatha Christie, who, despite her casual colonial racism, is widely read in the region (and apparently much requested at the internment camp Guantanamo Bay). The film has shown in Birmingham and London, and at the Cairo Film and Video Festival, and the Festival of Time Based Media in Vermont, USA. This is a short extract from a longer film.
Sue's hand-drawn image from the primordial swamp of her imagination for the Darwin bi-centenary celebrations in Shrewsbury 2010, projected onto Shrewsbury Library (see top of page)