Struggle in Jerash-a project by UK artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White-Artists in residence in Makan 2008

In 2008, UK artists Ben White and Eileen Simpson came to Makan and in collaboration with Gasworks, London, spent an artist residency program. During their residency they investigated music archival material as they are interested in open source material and the economic-political dimensions of copy rights. During their research, they happen to find and become interested in the film Struggle in Jerash, famous for possibly being the firts eveny "Jordanian" film. The film and their intervention will be exhibited in Gasworks on April 15th.


"Gasworks presents an exhibition linking two films: I Want to See (2008) by Lebanese artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, and Struggle in Jerash (2009) by London-based artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White.

Respectively set in Lebanon and Jordan, the films emphasise cinema's potential to create new ways of negotiating reality in the context of the Middle East. Both films mix fiction and documentary, foregrounding the subjective glance and voice.


For Struggle in Jerash (2009), Eileen Simpson and Ben White retrieved the last surviving copy of the first feature film produced in Jordan; now out of copyright. The film – a tale of thievery and romance set against the backdrop of historical Jordan and Jerusalem – was then screened to local cultural practitioners, whose translation and live commentary connects contemporary and historic Jordan, resulting in unexpected and engaging discussions on liberty and theocracy."


for more information on the Gasworks event:


This event is particulalry interesting for us because it is the result of the artists residency in Makan, also because it deals with the matter of copy rights, and thirdly because the film Struggle in Jerash صراع في جرش portrays the fifties in Jordan. A time when you could still see love and alcohol and physical contact beyond a handshake on the big screen. Today, while the multi Saudi funded satellite channles delete the hint of a kiss and dictate the limits of expression, watching the badly kept awkwardly made Struggle in Jerash nostalgically refreshing.