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Yto Barrada Tree Identification for Beginners


Yto Barrada Tree Identification for Beginners

film performance
TU 15.05.2018 20:30
WE 16.05.2018 20:30
TH 17.05.2018 20:30


In the turbulent summer of 1966, the artist’s mother, a twenty-year old Moroccan student-socialist, was one of some fifty Young African Leaders invited on a tour in the US to ‘learn about democracy’, sponsored by the State Department. Starting from this episode, Yto Barrada – a visual artist and founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger – creates Tree Identification for Beginners, a film accompanied by textile and sound, through which she follows her mother in her journey and attempt to hijack the US-proposed narrative and discover the emerging voices of the Pan-African and Black Power movements. Tree Identification for Beginners opens a territory at the intersection of political history, family story, myth and fiction. By playing with wooden children’s toys from the 60s, the film ironically shows how skill-learning of recognizing simple geometric shapes and stereotypical categorization of ‘the other’ overlap. A playful reflection on the similarities between political propaganda... and infantile pedagogy.


Film by Yto Barrada, Producer: Sean Gullette, Editors: Maxwell Paparella & Kate Abernathy, Director of Photography: Steve Cossman, Animators: Steve Cossman & Yto Barrada Foley, Artists: Yto Barrada, Steve Cossman, Rachel Abernathy-Guma, Post-Production Sound: Filipe Messeder & Matthew Curry, Voice Coach for Yto Barrada: Alaina Ferris, Curated by: Adrienne Edwards in the framework of Performa 17 (Afroglossia Film program), Voices: Yto Barrada, Sanford Biggers, Allen Frame, Ashley Fure, Sean Gullette, Arana Hankin, Ishion Hutchinson, T. Geronimo Johnson, Peter Benson Miller, Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Beursschouwburg, Supported by 
Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Ford Foundation, Performa Commissioning Fund & Pace Gallery, Special thanks to Mounira Bouzid El Alami, The Amistad Research Center, The American Academy in Rome, Ashley Fure, Ruy Garcia, Victoria Mangianello, Pace Gallery, Elodie Pong, Nadja Zimmerman, Mono No Aware, Tamara Corm, Jared Ellner