It was a time that was a time
It was a time that was a time features stills from Shezad Dawood’s new film of the same name (2015, 16:27 mins), commissioned by Pioneer Works and made while Dawood was an artist-in-residence. The film is the result of a free-form, collaborative filmmaking experiment, whereby participants took turns documenting each other living in a speculative community formed in response to a theoretical environmental cataclysm, with devices that might have survived a devastating flood. As the artist explained, in this possible post-apocalyptic community, surviving on the periphery of New York, “rules of society, gender and relationships are given new expression.” Operating on the borders between speculative realism and performance, the piece was primarily filmed on Coney Island in the aquarium that was notoriously flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Participants and collaborators included Brooklyn-based artists, costume designers and choreographers, as well as youth participating in Red Hook Initiative—a nonprofit that organizes empowerment programs for the neighborhood.