Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Messay films: in conversation with Asa Mendelsohn
Friday, February 12, 2021 | Sindhu Thirumalaisamy
Asa Mendelsohn and I come from very different worlds—Asa is from New York and spent several years in Chicago and in Vienna as a Fulbright fellow; I have lived in different parts of South India and moved to the US for graduate studies. We found each other through the visual arts MFA program at UC San Diego. E.R. Cho, a mentor to both of us, introduced us when Asa was still considering the move. Asa later told me that our initial conversations about the messy labor politics at UCSD and listening practices convinced him that we could be friends—and that he may not have made the move if it weren’t for Cho and me. We have been studio neighbours, collaborators, and close friends since then, translating for each other about the many ways that art and activism intersect in our lives. We have both worked a lot with sound, perhaps as a way of sidestepping our uneasy relationships to cameras. And, despite that uneasiness, we have both approached filmmaking as a means of imagining worlds to which we want to belong—as imperfect attempts at world-making.