Orient Express (Video), 2014
Orient Express, is part of a large-scale project consisting of an immersive installation, (Family Business, 2018) and a series of performances inspired by an autobiographical and micro-historical research into a family-owned business: Finland’s first kebab and falafel restaurant Orient Express, opened by Maimon’s Israeli father in 1985. Located in the Forum shopping mall in Helsinki city centre, the restaurant introduced Finns to the delicacies of the Middle East. In 1986, Maimon’s father produced a high-budget video advertisement for Orient Express which used his own exoticness in a high-paced narrative to market kebabs in Finland. The ad showcased her older sister in a leading role, as well as the artist herself and her mother as “background actors”, along with family-friends and members of an immigrant population living in Helsinki in the early 80s. The ad was originally shown in cinemas across the country to attract customers from near and far.Starting from this video-relic along with photographic and architectural records as well as Maimon’s childhood memories, the artist reworked the advert and reimagined the restaurant, reconstructing it as an immersive installation to exist in a world beyond capital. In the reworked advert video, a broader story is told by way of subtly repeating and shifting subtitles; several overlapping narratives with and without image communicate the artists grown up or childhood comments inserted as subtitles only sometimes corresponding with what is actually being said. Trauma, truth, reality and memory are dissected and reassembled as the audience experiences the “desire for kebab” from a child’s, a Finnish customer’s and the artist’s adult perspective.
Single Channel HD Video