Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Lebanon, Beirut
Selected by Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Lebanon, Beirut
"Randa and Lara create a romantic yet fragmented fresco of images generated from their WhatsApp conversations, charting an honest development of their long distance relationship."
Unseen Platform: Could you talk us through the inspiration for the End to End Encrypted project?
Randa Mirza & Lara Tabet: Long distance relationships are becoming widespread nowadays due to the development of new communication modes. Distance no longer constitutes a strong barrier for lovers. They can see and talk to each other on a daily basis via video calls, whilst the exchange of images, sounds and messages helps to overcome the time lived apart. It’s this bank of material that constitutes our building blocks for the project.
What did you want to convey with your aesthetic choices?
End to End Encrypted unfolds over several chapters following the relationship of Jeanne & Moreau in real time. Where the first chapter is a kind of fresco of images from our WhatsApp chat, the second chapter uses the more sexually-explicit pictures that Jeanne & Moreau sent to each other as its starting point. The images were cut and rearranged into collages which evoke the pixelation used in censorship. This technique allows us to reveal and obscure simultaneously, which generates questions about what is shown and what is hidden – and how we are involved in curating our image – on social media.
Can you explain your use of the Jeanne & Moreau pseudonym for the project?
Jeanne Moreau conveys a certain idea of romanticism, and as one of the leading figures of the French nouvelle vague, she represents ideas of free love and feminism. We only had this idea in retrospect as the name emerged very spontaneously – she died recently and we thought it would be a nice nod.
In such a collaboration, how do you go about dividing your roles?
Jeanne & Moreau represents one entity with a distinct visual identity from that of our individual practices. Decisions are taken together, as well as the execution. It’s a continuous dialogue.
It remains slightly unclear as to whether these images emanate from a ‘real’ relationship or if it is in fact fictional or imagined. Was this a deliberate strategy on your part?
We want to convey the feeling that while the work is about the relationship between two specific individuals, it transcends the specificity of their relationship to that of new approaches to image making and relationship building. The work is about the virtual and the real, our private and public identities; the veracity will of course be under question.