HD video (9:48 min.), 2018
Collection of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Originally commissioned and produced by More Art, NYC
Night Watch features silent video portraits of individuals who have been granted political asylum in the United States. Shimon Attie, an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, created the portraits to “allow for a series of intimate and sustained ‘I-thou’ encounters with the viewer.” Most of the subjects are members of the LGBTQ+ community; some are unaccompanied minors. Attie notes that the work is meant to be “emotionally restrained,” adding that “the subjects’ interiority is withheld, such that the viewer might have a more complex experience that does not immediately reveal its meaning or emotional texture.”
When Night Watch premiered in 2018, during the U.N. General Assembly week, it took the form of a floating media installation that traveled along New York City’s waterways. Today, the film stands on its own by engaging with one of the most pressing issues of our time—that of helping asylum seekers and refugees in urgent need.