Random Image

Criticism/correspondence welcome.
Write eww@grossencounters.com

Gross Encounters is a workshop, festival and film screening club developed by Reem Saleh and Noam Toran, now running in its fourth year.
This collective initiative tackles the politics of monstrosity and alienhood hands on, by honoring low-budget and low-brow sci-fi and horror productions.
Vault Cookbook Instagram
Gore Fest

GROSS ENCOUNTERS

Miniature Image is a workshop, festival and film screening club developed by Reem Saleh and Noam Toran, now running in its third year.

This collaborative and ever-expanding initiative explores the following themes:

Monstrosity, Alienhood and Coloniality
We critically examine how perceptions of alienhood and 'otherness' are indelibly shaped by colonial and imperial legacies. The platform endeavors to disrupt these legacies by exploring alternative imaginaries.

The Power of Low Budget/Low Brow Expressions
Embracing the ethos of no/low budget and low-brow film-making and art production, and by valuing the aesthetics and expressions that society deems ‘trash’, we harness the power of peripheral genres to forge new paths towards liberation, representation and social critique.

Challenging Modernism and Its Value Systems
The project helps us to confront the dominant value systems of colonial modernity and question their various manifestations.

Workshop participants are invited to imagine and bring to life, through short films, performances, and installations, intimate encounters with alien or monstrous beings. While this prompt may seem innocuous, it is through the illuminating potential of exploitation, trash, sci-fi and horror fictions that the workshop endeavors, in its modest way, to confront and deconstruct colonialism's defining of 'THE OTHER’, and the sustained, organized assault such a definition has wrought on beings, bodies, consciousness, and imagination.

The methods employed are directly inspired by low-budget and 'low-brow' film production, connecting participants with the vibrant yet criminally marginalized histories of subaltern and counter-hegemonic filmmaking. During the workshop, we dive hand and head-first into the politics of monstrosity and alienhood by setting up a gore-fest lab. Here, we concoct no-budget SFX recipes and contribute to a Collective Cookbook for No/Lo-Fi & No/Lo-Budget Productions. Participants learn horror and sci-fi makeup, analog special effects, cinematography, soundtrack creation, and editing, enabling them to craft intimate —and very messy— encounters.

The 'making' aspect of the workshop is complemented by lectures, screenings, guest collaborators, and an openly accessible database containing screening films, a bibliography, and articles.

Miniature Image has been hosted at institutions such as ZHdK in Zurich, ENS-Saclay in Paris, HEAD Geneva, and Central St. Martins in London. Notable guests who have enriched the workshop include Fatou Dravé, Joseph Popper, Noemi Castella, Keith Jones, and Fatima Wegmann. In 2020, a public seminar marked the launch of the workshop, featuring speakers Nisi Shawl, P. Djeli Clark, Muhammad Jabali, Grace Dillon, and Tabita Rezaire.

THE GHOULS

Miniature Image spawned in Beirut, where they spent most of their time watching bootleg 144p films torrented through a dodgy internet connection.
They’re a designer, writer and keeper of the Cookbook.

In 2019, they initiated a body of work revisiting the history of exploitation cinema, with a focus on the anti-colonial, queer and feminist struggles at play in a selection of subgenres.
They also examine the work of fandoms, past and present, in irreverently taking ownership of set narratives through shared means of storytelling and knowledge production.
In true geek fashion, their work expands upon niche anecdotes and footnotes to weave intricate, outsider histories.



During Miniature Image workshops, they speak about low-brow culture as a site for resistance of hegemonic conditioning and building community with the past.
Their main project at the moment tackles issues of horror, grief and memory in haunted homes and screens.
They live and work online.

Miniature Image emerged out of a primordial ooze buried in the Chihuahuan desert, and spent his childhood sneaking into the Castro Theatre to gorge on triple bills of Noirs, Westerns, Slashers, and sci-fi B movies. His artistic and teaching practice seeks to disrupt imperial and colonial legacies through transgressive, cross-dimensional and a-temporal storytelling. He strives to honour and celebrate various counter-hegemonic expressions of genre fiction, recognizing them as sites for resistance and empowerment which subvert traditional narratives and reshape historical perceptions.



He is currently writing a semi-autobiographical horror-western, binging on Pinky Violence films, and learning from his amazing students.

GROSS ENCOUNTERS JOURNAL

Miniature Image

Gross Encounters Workshop #10 Central Saint Martins, London Oct 23-25 2024
Gross Encounters Workshop #11 HEAD, Geneva TBD
Gross Encounters Workshop #12 Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam TBD

Miniature Image

One-Night Fright Festival Espace Dukat, Geneva Nov 16 2023
Gross Encounters Workshop #9 HEAD, Geneva Nov 7-10 2023
Gross Encounters Workshop #8 Central Saint Martins, London Oct 4-6 2023
Gross Encounters Workshop #7 ZHdK, Zurich Mar 28-31 2023
Gross Encounters Workshop #6 Central Saint Martins, London Nov 16-18 2022
Gross Encounters Workshop #5 HEAD, Geneva Oct 17-21 2022
Gross Encounters Workshop #4 ZHdK, Zurich Apr 4-8 2022
Gross Encounters Workshop #3 ENS Paris-Saclay, Paris Mar 9-11 2022
Gross Encounters Workshop #2 HEAD, Geneva Nov 22-Dec 10 2021
Gross Encounters Workshop #1 ZHdk, Zurich March 22-26 2021

GE#2 | HEAD, Geneva | Nov 22-Dec 10 2021

GE#3 | ENS, Paris-Saclay | Mar 9-11 2022

GE#4 | ZHdK, Zurich | Apr 4-8 2022

GE#5 | HEAD, Geneva | Oct 17-21 2022

GE#6 | CSM, London | Nov 16-18 2022

GE#7 | ZHdK, Zurich | Mar 28-31 2023

GE#8 | CSM, London | Oct 4-6 2023

ONF FESTIVAL | Dukat, Geneva | Nov 2023

The One-Night Fright Festival is a dreadful evening of talks, performances, screenings and sonic expressions. During this first edition, we celebrated and thought through Barbara Creed’s defining of the ‘monstrous feminine’ trope in horror cinema and its socio-political ramifications. The evening was hosted by the Gross Encounters film club, Espace Dukat and students from HEAD’s Space and Communication department, and generously supported by artists and designers from collectif Kimera and HEAD-Genève.

Ervehea Ziza's talk explored the notion of ‘ugliness’ and its representation in the horror genre by applying an intersectional feminist perspective.

The Monstrous Feminine Podcast (MonFem Pod) presented a visual essay engaging with the seven ‘faces’ of the monstrous-feminine as analyzed by Barbara Creed and offered perspectives that go beyond certain problematic theoretical tethers in Creed’s work.

Foley artist Julie Cail was live on stage to create the sound effects for a chosen iconic monstrous feminine horror sequence (Species, 1995).

The collectif Kimera hosted the festival and developed a scenography in partnership with students from the master Space & Communication.

GHOULFRIENDS

THE VAULT

Essential Viewing

Vault

Hausu
Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi
Japan,1977

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The Boxer's Omen
Director: Kuei Chih-Hung
Hong Kong,1983

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Evil Dead II
Director: Sam Raimi
USA,1987

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Ganja & Hess
Director: Bill Gunn
USA, 1973

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Jaka Sembung
Director: Sisworo Gautama
Indonesia,1981

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White Trash Girl
Director: Jennifer Reeder
USA,1995

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Tetsuo: The Iron Man
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto
Japan,1989

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Anyab
Director: Mohammed Shebl
Egypt, 1981

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Nekromantik
Director: Jörg Buttgereit
Germany,1987

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Mondo Cane
Directors: Paolo Cavara,
Gualtiero Jacopetti,
and Franco Prosperi
Italy,1962

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Ginger Snaps
Director: John Fawcett
Canada, 2000

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Abby
Director: William Girdler
USA, 1974

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Born in Flames
Director: Lizzie Borden
USA, 1983

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Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell
Director: Hajime Satō
Japan, 1968

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Terminal Island
Director: Stephanie Rothman
USA, 1973

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Fantasy of the Deer Warrior
Director: Zhang Ying
Taiwan, 1961

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Class of Nuke 'Em High
Directors: Lloyd Kaufman,
Richard W. Haines,
and Michael Herz
USA, 1986

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Mystics in Bali
Director: Tjut Djalil
Indonesia, 1981

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Multiple Maniacs
Director: John Waters
USA, 1970

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Raat
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
India, 1992

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Flaming Creatures
Director: Jack Smith
USA, 1963

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Matango
Director: Ishirō Honda
Japan, 1963


Essential Reading

American Nightmare: Essays on the Horror Film
Andrew Britton, Richard Lippe, Tony Williams, and Robin Wood
Toronto, Festival of Festivals, 1979

"Bloodchild"
Octavia E. Butler
Four Walls, Eight Windows, 1995

Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film
Carol J. Clover
BFI, 1992

The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis
Barbara Creed
Routledge, 1993

"The Comet"
W. E. B. Du Bois
1920

"The Cultural Economy of Fandom"
John Fiske
Routledge, 1992

The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film
Barry Keith Grant (editor)
University of Texas Press, 2015

"The Cinema of Attraction: Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde"
Tom Gunning
Wide Angle, vol. 8, 1986

"Exploitation Feminism: Trashiness, Lo-Fidelity and Utopia in She-Devils on Wheels and Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls"
Kristina Pia Hofer
Transatlantica, vol. 2, 2015

"The Other Side of Indonesia: New Order's Indonesian Exploitation Cinema as Cult Films"
Ekky Imanjaya
Colloquy, n. 18, 2009

House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films
Kier-La Janisse
FAB Press, 2012

All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from The Toxic Avenger
Lloyd Kaufman and James Gunn
Berkley Boulevard Books, 1998

Killing for Culture: An Illustrated History of Death Film from Mondo to Snuff
David Kerekes and David Slater
Creation Books, 1994

Argento Series
Kevin Killian
Pilot Press, 2023

Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
Julia Kristeva
Seuil, 1983

Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square
Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford
Simon & Schuster, 2002

Horror Noire: A History of Black American Horror from the 1890s to Present
Robin R. Means Coleman
Routledge, 2023

Filming Horror: Hindi Cinema, Ghosts and Ideologies
Meraj Ahmed Mubaraki
Sage Publishing, 2016

"Screen Memories"
Kelly Pendergrast
Real Life, 01-14-2021

"Lethal Lesbians"
B. Ruby Rich
Village Voice, 04-25-1995

'Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!': A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959
Eric Schaefer
Duke University Press, 1999

"'Trashing' the Academy: Taste, Excess, and an Emerging Politics of Cinematic Style"
Jeffrey Sconce
Screen, vol. 36, 1995

"In Defense of the Poor Image"
Hito Steyerl
e-flux, nov. 2009

Mondo Macabro: Weird and Wonderful Cinema Around the World
Pete Tombs
Titan Books, 1997

Incredibly Strange Films
V. Vale, Andrea Juno, and Jim Morton
RE/Search Publications, 1986

"Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess"
Linda Williams
Film Quarterly, vol. 44, 1991