British artist Runa Islam (b. 1970, Dhaka, Bangladesh) primarily works in film and video. Ostensibly austere and minimal, her works are marked by a rigorous logic of conception but also a highly poetic style, and often involve the grammar of film—its languages of framing, panning, zooming, editing, and projection. For instance, for her film C I N E M A T O G R A P H Y
(2007), Islam employed a motion-control camera that was used for the Lord of the Rings
film trilogy to spell out “cinematography?” through camera movement, capturing the landscape and studio of a camera technician who had worked on the trilogy. Yet her films can also be playfully poetic and stunningly beautiful. For First Day of Spring
(2005), which is in MoMA’s collection, Islam paid a group of Bangladeshi rickshaw operators to have a day of leisure in the middle of the public park, where she filmed them relaxing on their rickshaws under the shade of trees, calling into question the distinction between documentary and staged filmmaking. For Projects 95,
Islam will produce a newly commissioned work.