PRINT March 2019


Rania Stephan, Les trois disparitions de Soad Hosni (The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni), 2011, digital video, color, sound, 70 minutes.

THRESHOLDS ARE VISIBLE but not often seen. A threshold is hardly ever singular: It can be a passageway, an obstacle, a boundary, or a sight line. A gate ajar may evidence trespass, a lintel suggests new terrains, and an open door stands for opportunity. Though often considered an inconsequential void “just before” or “right after,” a threshold is also a quiet witness that absorbs echoes of the events beyond.

Threshold, 2018, by Beirut-based artist Rania Stephan, draws our attention from those events to their scaffolding. The raw material of her ten-minute video is The Master of Time, a 1987 sci-fi film by Egyptian director Kamal El Sheikh. Latching on to one of the very few examples of this genre within the otherwise rich history of Egyptian cinema, Stephan scrupulously removed every scene from El Sheikh’s movie except those where a physical threshold is in active use. Containing

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