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New Media Series: Shimon Attie

Saint Louis Art Museum / April 1 - June 25, 2017 / St. Louis, Missouri


Artist Shimon Attie's film The Crossing opens in an empty former casino with several gamblers sitting around a slowly-spinning roulette table. The casino is quiet and the players hold static poses. Each places a bet and then, one by one, the gamblers disappear from the table. At the end of the film, a single player remains.

The gamblers are played not by traditional actors, but by Syrian refugees. At the time of production, the refugees had recently arrived in Europe, some having crossed the Mediterranean Sea on rafts. While the game is played, the sounds of wind and water can be heard in the background, a constant reminder of the life-threatening journey refugees undertake to reach Europe. According to Attie, "The Crossing reflects the extraordinary risks migrants are forced to take in times of crisis, literally gambling for their lives."

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