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Costume Party centers on 18 characters attending a costume party. They are dressed from definitive moments in Western history, from antiquity to the present, including a crusader, a monk, a cowboy and a Victorian widow. The work focuses on the role of history in the shaping of both national and individual consciousness. I explore the borders between fact and fiction, history and mythology by examining our desire to view the present as the product of an idealized past.

Spread over three screens with one common soundtrack, the costumes and stage like setting present a series of tableaux that seem to combine and recycle elements of myth, history, underground film and TV trash. By interrogating the norms and values that give rise to national and cultural identities, Costume Party “reveals the dialectical effort to construct a certain history from the presumption of a certain community, and then employ this constructed history to argue for the existence of an essential commonality” (Michael Eng).


3 screen video-installation, DVD-video, 15 min
Written & Directed by Maryam Jafri

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