Marine Hugonnier - Ariana (2003)

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Ariana was a major three-part film and photographic project that was shown concurrently at Chisenhale Gallery and MW Projects in Shoreditch, east London.

Ariana investigated the relationship between landscape and history. It explored ideas of utopia and resistance, questioning the tools of cinema and western ideas of viewpoint and panorama. Recorded in Afghanistan during 2002, Ariana details a journey to the capital Kabul, and to the beautiful Pandjshêr Valley, a region that has historically resisted the invasions of Soviet and Taliban ideologies.

Hugonnier's 16mm film, which was digitally projected at Chisenhale Gallery, charts the journey of a film crew. On arriving in the Pandjshêr Valley, their intention is to investigate how the landscape has determined the region's history. To do so, the crew attempts to find a vantage point to record a panorama of the entire valley. Access to this viewpoint is refused, because of its strategic value and the crew returns to Kabul to record the ruins and traffic of the city. The crew obtains permission to shoot a final panorama. The view allows them to gaze over Kabul and across to the Hindu Kush Mountains. They realise that this spectacle gives them a feeling of euphoria and totality. They decide to stop filming.

Ariana also featured a suite of large-scale 'portrait' photographs of unnamed mountains in the Pandjshêr Valley and a photographic album, featuring a collection of 36 small-scale images taken by Hugonnier throughout the trip.

Ariana was commissioned by MW projects and Film and Video Umbrella in association with Chisenhale Gallery. It was supported by the National Touring Programme of Arts Council England and was sponsored by Guy and Marion Naggar and Alan Djanogly.

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