Before Law – Screening of Ohan Breiding and Shoghig Halajian: The Rebel Body

Ohan Breiding and Shoghig Halajian
The Rebel Body
September 5–30, 2023
The film, The Rebel Body (2019), by Ohan Breiding and Shoghig Halajian will be exhibited in the Before Law screening room from September 5–30, 2023.

Conceived by artists Sharlene Bamboat and Alexis Kyle Mitchell, Before Law is a research site for practitioners invested in interspecies relations and the legal frameworks that seek to organize, discipline, and control them.

The Rebel Body follows the murder of Anna Göldi (1782), the last person to be legally executed for witchcraft in Europe, and tracks her final route through the town of Glarus, Switzerland. In 2007, nearly three centuries after her death, the Swiss parliament acknowledged Göldi’s case as a “miscarriage of justice” and exonerated her of criminal charges. The two filmmakers search for Göldi’s presence, and record the varying ways that town residents recount her story today. Rather than presenting a chronological narrative of Göldi’s life, they collage varying and often divergent points of view together, employing gossip as a narrative device that can account for contradiction and fragmentation in the collective memory of the event. As they travel through the different layers of the region—from mountain tops to underground caves—they search for scars in the landscape and imagine how place might manifest an absence. Inserting their own bodies into this site, they attempt to physically carry her story through space and, in so doing ask, how the story of Göldi’s persecution haunts the present moment?

Ohan Breiding is an artist working in photography, video and installation, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Williams College.

Shoghig Halajian is a scholar, curator, co-director of Human Resources LA, and co-editor of the online journal Georgia.

Before Law is a web project by artist-duo Bamboat / Mitchell exploring the interconnectedness of beings and the legal frameworks that seek to organize, discipline, and control them.

This screening of The Rebel Body is supported by The Canada Council for the Arts.

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