Selfish Road (2022)
A 30-minute film by artist and filmmaker Oreet Ashery. A KW Production Series. Watch the film here:
Journeying through their homeland and recalling autobiographical memories along the way, Ashery observes how both senses of belonging have and continue to fuse with the vertiginous and winding flows of nation-building, infrastructure and land use.
Turning a camera onto the contested land in and around Jerusalem, Selfish Road draws upon the genres of science-fiction, stand-up comedy, the family photo album, and the implicit privilege of the slacker road movie. The film reveals a composite portrait of a rapidly changing landscape: roads collapse into sinkholes, diseased cacti line highways, and location-monitoring apps map circuitous routes to flag “high risk” and “prohibited” areas. This episodic reflection of space and place attempts to work through the paradox: How can you own something that is stolen?
Selfish Road depicts a contradictory environment of industrial extraction obscured by spiritual wellness practices. With anger, grief, hope, and resistance, it dreams of material ecological visions for indigenous life away from settler occupation and seeks out an ethics in and beyond the beauty of the region.
Oreet Ashery is a visual artist who works across established art institutions and grassroots social contexts. Using film, photography, performance, 2D and textiles, they narrate stories of precarious identities and combine autoethnography, collective knowledge and biopolitical fiction. Ashery was awarded the 2017 Jarman Film Award for Revisiting Genesis (2016), a web series that questions how the boundaries between dying, care and self are affected by digital technologies. In 2020 they were a recipient of the Turner Prize Bursary for the exhibition Misbehaving Bodies: Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery (2019), Wellcome Collection, London. Their monograph How We Die Is How We Live Only More So (2019) was published by Mousse. Ashery is Professor of Contemporary Art at Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford.