When CitizenM Glasgow asked me if I wanted to be a mobile Citizen for the night and check out ‘Shorts’ at the Graphic Design Festival Scotland (GDFS), I couldn’t say no.
GDFS is an international organisation promoting creativity, innovation, collaboration as well as challenging ways of thinking through workshops, talks, discussions, exhibitions, competitions, music and public artwork.
Held at The Lighthouse in Glasgow, we wandered around the exhibition looking at all the incredible pieces of art on the walls which depicted everything from politics to movies in awe. The sheer craftsmanship and creativity put into these pieces were beautiful and many of them really made you stop, look and think about some of the things that are happening in the world right now. After exploring the exhibit, we grabbed some popcorn and settled in to see some incredibly beautiful short films.
‘Shorts’ is a curated selection of short films by artists, designers and filmmakers from across the world and are produced in collaboration with Pretend Lovers. The films we saw had been cut down from over 2600 applications from 107 countries around the world to the final 15 which were presented on the night.
The 15 films covered an array of topics from daily patterns, to competing siblings, loneliness and the global immigration crisis. I never knew that a film which lasted only 2 minutes could make me feel so many emotions all at once. With no breaks between the films, you had barely wrapped your head around the meaning and emotion in the last film before you were thrust into the beauty and creativity of the next. During the night I laughed, cried and thought about topics in a way I had never even considered them before.
There was one film that I must admit, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I watched it. Irregulars by Fabio Palmieri from Italy really struck something in me. The film followed manikins being prepared and ready to be shipped out as the story of a young refugee boy told his story of the global immigration crisis in his own heart-breaking words. The film hopes to point out that 400,000 flew war, persecution and poverty from Africa, Asia and the Middle East every year looking for a better and more prosperous life. Since many countries have closed their borders, these people have no choice but to board overcrowded vessels and try to cross the dangerous and often deadly Mediterranean.
The comparison of these people to manikins really hit me. When we talk about refugees it is almost like we have generalised them and made them seem less human, just like manikins. It really made me think and has continued to make me think, about what I can do to help the situation going forward.
I loved hanging out with CitizenM Glasgow at the GDFS. The festival is definitely something I will add to my calendar to visit each year. I am already incredibly excited to see what next year brings.