2016 ➣ present | 14 minutes 26 seconds

* recommended to watch on loop


“My soul is impatient with itself as with a bothersome child; its restlessness keeps growing and is forever the same. Everything interests me, but nothing holds me. I attend to everything, dreaming all the while. I’m two, and both keep their distance. Siamese twins that aren’t attached.” Fernando Pessoa | The Book of Disquiet

The moment when souls are at the peak of their loneliness and solitude, a duality is born within. This duality polarizes the soul between space-time, nature, places, situations and other living creatures, leading it to a loss of clarity, vagueness, ambiguity: darkness. From darkness, an unbearable boredom is born, a vortex as vicious as it is compelling, leading to an overwhelming desire to escape.

Only during the fleeting moments of flying high above the earth where everything becomes small and insignificant, do I feel a sense of serenity and freedom. But escape becomes routine, and the dark reality dawns that one cannot escape from oneself.

“RAW” is a series of raw images and sounds that are turbulent and out of focus, a candid exploration of the unbearable cycles of solitude and escape, where contradictory emotions, thoughts, and desires coalesce, and the deep longing for the companionship that never existed before is conceived in the process.

The idea for this project came as a result of incidental filming that started twelve years ago, when I had my first phone camera and filmed with no intention other than being compelled by details in what I saw around me. I was particularly drawn to filming while in aeroplanes, among clouds, or horizons by the sea at dusk or dawn, and while walking in other countries, experiences that were both physical and metaphorical manifestations of my yearning to break free.

“RAW” was born out of an extreme reaction to the last nineteen years of working in the mainstream Egyptian film industry. In stark contrast to working on projects on which millions of Egyptian pounds have been spent, hundreds of (essentially) professional slaves have worked with heavy and expensive equipment, and wealthy producers have yielded unbearable pressures, it has given me great pleasure and relief to play with raw material (all shot on iPhone 4, 5, 5s and 8s) and keep it in its native form with no, or little alteration.

I intend to keep the audio as crude as the images themselves, with no dialogue or voiceover, with all its natural abruptness and distortions. The soundscape devised for the project is produced from both musical and non-musical instruments, providing a rich and immersive aural experience as a visceral accompaniment to what I hope will be a raw and vulnerable visual self-portrait.

Ziyad Hawwas