Saturday, November 20, 2021
Archival media are the remnants of capture. They are the evidence of previous points of view, types of gaze, power configurations, knowledge constructions. Examining earlier languages, biases, and forms of representation, the works here use found footage and archival matter to shed light on the specificity of disciplines of categorization. This could allow for a systemic critique, offering up the old material for new kinds of manipulation and reevaluation.
Only the Beloved Keeps Our Secrets
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Palestine, 2016, 10m
Structured around footage taken from an Israeli military surveillance camera in Palestine, Only the Beloved Keeps Our Secrets combines that material with found footage of quotidian ritual and performance, abandoned lots, local plants, and landscapes. The images overlap one another in the frame, visually juxtaposing the past and the volatile present.
Les Enfants de la guerre
Jocelyne Saab, Lebanon, 1976, 11m
After the Karantina Massacre early in the Lebanese Civil War, Jocelyne Saab bonds with the surviving children of a shantytown in Beirut. They allow her to film their games, which are marked by the horrible events that they’d witnessed.
Já me transformei em imagen (I already became an image)
Zezinho Yube, Brazil, 2008, 32m
A striking documentary shifting all the cinematic ethnographic tropes (the face-to-face confrontation, the first-contact footage, the didactic voiceover), and produced by Videos nas Aldeias, Já me transformei em imagen illustrates how the Amazonian Hunikui people became subjects of a foreign gaze. Taking back the archival materials made by others serves as a reminder of the hardships that the community has had to endure since their first encounter with white people.
Onyeka Igwe, UK, 2016, 6m
Part of a suite of films concerned with dance, movement, the colonial gaze, and Nigeria’s Aba Women’s War of 1929, Specialised Technique is an attempt to return authorship of the footage of West African dancers taken by the British Colonial Film Unit to its original subjects.
Abigail Child, USA, 1983, 16mm, 11m
The second installment of Abigail Child’s ambitious Is This What You Were Born For? series, Mutiny presents chopped fragments of women represented in a variety of mediated footage. We find them speaking, playing instruments, working out, and always ready to deliver a message. The infuriated and truncated syntax of the film, built in service of readjusting the archives, honors its rebellious title.
How Green Was the Calabash Garden
Truong Minh Quý, Vietnam, 2016, 15m
Filmmaker Truong Minh Quý prompts a Vietnamese veteran to recall his participation in the Cambodian genocide, encouraging him to sketch his memories in a lush calabash garden. This sincere, personal short film ends with an unexpected twist when the director starts reflecting on the veteran’s story in his own way.