Robert & Joan Feitler Gallery, Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Illinois, USA


On view November 9, 2010 through January 2, 2011 as part of our year-long Black Box series of single-channel video screenings.

Paul Emmanuel’s short film 3SAI: A RITE OF PASSAGE meditates on masculine identity in post-Apartheid South Africa. The work focuses on a mixed-race group of military recruits whose heads are being shaved—part of a process that turns individual young men into a collective of soldiers. Emmanuel emphasizes this process of transformation through editing that moves with increasing speed from one close-up to another, each man blurring into the next. He intersperses footage of the head-shaving ritual with luscious tracking shots of an expansive, golden landscape in which rows of white shirts flutter like flags or peace offerings.

Emmanuel’s work was recommended to the Smart Museum by Jane Taylor, a South African curator and scholar, and Visiting Professor in the Department of English Languages and Literature.



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© Paul Emmanuel