The Critical Media Lab was founded in fall of 2021 to provide scholarly, critical, and creative resources for faculty and students working in documentary arts and multimodal anthropology. Housed in McGill University’s Department of Anthropology, in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal), and part of the Leadership for the Ecozoic network, the CML offers practical workshops in video, film and sound, as well as screenings, artist talks and round-table discussions for members of the McGill community wishing to incorporate practice-based approaches into their teaching and research. With a teaching lab, screening room, and audiovisual equipment, the CML provides hands-on instruction in production and post-production. It exposes scholars and makers in a range of disciplines, to both the history of ethnographic film and the flourishing contemporary field of sensory ethnography. It is committed to fostering innovative pedagogical approaches and strategies for knowledge production and dissemination, and to supporting creative work that furthers equitable social, political and environmental change. 

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March 11, 2022 from 5:30-7:30pm @ 3475 Peel St.
Screening, Artist Talk & Round-Table Discussion

Sharlene Bamboat - If From Every Tongue It Drips
Video, 68 minutes, Canada / Sri Lanka / UK, 2022

If From Every Tongue it Drips is a film that uses the framework of quantum physics to explore the ways that personal relationships and political movements at once transcend and challenge time, space, identity and location. The film follows the lives of a couple living in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, one of whom writes Rekhti, a form of 19th century, Urdu, queer poetry; the other, the camera operator. As their personal lives unfold on camera, the lines between rehearsal and reality, location and distance, self and other dissipate and reinforce one another. Simultaneously, through poet and camera operator’s daily lives, interconnections between British colonialism, Indian nationalism and the impact of both on contemporary poetry, dance and music in South Asia is revealed.


If From Every Tongue it Drips (Trailer) from Sharlene Bamboat on Vimeo.

SCREENING FOLLOWED BY ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION with filmmaker Sharlene Bamboat and the film’s translator Sabeena Shaikh, moderated by Dr. Pasha Khan.

Dr. Pasha Khan is Chair in Urdu Language and Culture and an Associate Professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies. He works on South Asian literatures, including literature in Urdu-Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, and Arabic. He teaches courses on Sufism, the cultural history of South Asia, marvelous tales in the Islamicate world, Urdu poetry, and the history and cultures of the South Asian and Muslim diaspora, particularly in Canada.

Sabeena Shaikh is a PhD student in the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. Her research interests include the study of poetry and performance in pre-modern South Asia from both a literary and historical perspective. She is presently writing a dissertation about courtesans and exploring the agency and subjectivity of these women through the texts that they authored. Sabeena teaches language classes in Urdu-Hindi as well as Bollywood dance fitness classes. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting desi-fusion recipes and taking her dog, Cilantro, on long walks.

Director/Producer: Sharlene Bamboat
Performer: Ponni Arasu & Sarala Emmanuel
Camera Operator: Sarala Emmanuel
Sound: Richy Carey
Edit: Muhammad Nour Elkhairy
Translator: Sabeena Shaikh
Captioning Collaborator: Emilia Beatriz
11/02/2022 Artist Talk 

Paweł Wojtasik - Every Pulse of the Heart Is Work
86 minutes, Digital Video, colour, India, 2019.

Shot primarily in Varanasi, India’s oldest and holiest city, the film’s theme is work, but work understood as devotion. Five years in the making, it consists of meditative portraits of a broad range of laborers, such as a crane operator, a surgeon, a weaver, a priest, a masseur, a tabla drum maker, and so forth. The camera enters into an intimately attentive relation with the subjects and their workplaces: a cremation ground, a hospital, an apartment tower under construction. The streets of the city themselves form an important worksite, where much of the activity takes place: a barber, a beggar, a dentist. The singular portraits of Indian workers build towards a composite vision of society, where each has a place in the tangled web of human endeavor.

Produced by Narimane Mari (Centrale Électrique)
Sound Mix by Ernst Karel

02/12/2021 Artist Talk
Philip Rizk - Mapping Lessons
2020 | Egypt | 61’ | Color + B&W | Arabic, French, German, English, Ukrainian | English Subtitles

Mapping Lessons is a travel film both in content and aesthetics. We journey with K to a Levant being colonized and then travel through time and place to anti-neocolonial struggles there set in conversation with others across the globe - from 1936 Spain, to the early experiment of the Soviets, resistance in Vietnam and Algeria to uprisings in Argentina and the Paris Commune. The film features lessons K learns from her encounters along the way, on agro-ecology and selfgovernance, on sustainable energy, and about education outside of the framework of the nationstate. The journey frames the current neo-colonial reality that plagues the region within the colonization of the past. Inspired by the internet tutorial format, Mapping Lessons tells of experiments in autonomy in the absence of a state showing experiments that act as a manual for the next time. The film’s musical score features a 1972 recording session that took place in Cairo, Egypt. Much like the lessons, the film’s soundtrack is improvised.

Director, Editor & Producer: Philip Rizk
Editing Consultant: Mohamed Hassan Shawky
Supervising Sound Editor, Re-recording mixer & Sound Design: Max Schneider
Music Editor & Sound Editor: Nadah El Shazly
Music Supervisor: Philip Rizk
Translation: Farah Barqawi, Katharine Halls, Ma Hoogla-Kalfat (MaYo)

World premiere Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, official selection, Opus Bonum, 2020

Italy premiere Torino International Film Festival, official selection, Documentary, 2020

Africa Premiere Qabes Cinema Fen, official selection, Tunisia, 2021

Art world Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kerala, India

Paweł Wojtasik is a Polish-born filmmaker and video artist, currently living in Brooklyn, NY, got his MFA from Yale University in painting, in 1996. From 1998 to 2000 Paweł was a resident at Dai Bosatsu Zendo Buddhist monastery. Paweł co-directed End of Life (with John Bruce, 2017). His work has been shown at NYFF , Locarno, Berlinale, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, among others; as well as at MoMA/PS1, Carnegie Hall, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, REDCAT, Pacific Film Archive, Anthology Film Archives and the Flaherty Film Seminar.

Philip Rizk is a filmmaker living between Cairo and Berlin. His most recent film is entitled Mapping Lessons. Together with Jasmina Metwaly, he directed the feature film “Out on the Street” (2015), which premiered at the Berlinale and was part of the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale later that year. Rizk is a member of the Mosireen video collective behind the archive His texts have appeared online, in journals and in collected volumes including “2011 is not 1968: a letter to an onlooker”. Rizk was a resident of the DAAD program in Berlin in 2016-2017. He regularly teaches in classrooms and workshops.