Weekly Wednesdays from 21 April
This four-part screening programme invites us to think about the role of archives in shaping collective memory, histories and stories. Archives were created as centralised repositories of record-producing public agencies in an attempt to preserve a singular, official history. Across the centuries, colonialists, dictators, conquistadors, all understood that to control history is to wield power to shape the future. However, history is mutable, partial, messy, and the story of the future rests on a more truthful, nuanced account.
The democratisation of the capture, storage and reinterpretation of information in the last 100 years has opened up archives to a reappraisal of the past and the making of more plural futures, shaped by multiple perspectives. As the films in this programme demonstrate, in the course of one short century, archives have become a means to write alternative histories and to speak back to power.
The following films will be screened from 18.30 GMT and available on this web page for 48 hours.
Wednesday 21 April / Week 1: The gaze reclaimed
La Zerda ou les Chants de l’Oubli (The Zerda or the Songs of Forgetting)
Algeria, 1982, 60’
La Zerda ou les Chants de l’Oubli is a multilayered, poetic essay film that recycles archival newsreels shot in the French colonies of North Africa. Out of these colonial artefacts, Assia Djebar recuperates the history of the Zerda festival—a merrymaking tradition indigenous to North Africa—suggesting that the power and mysticism of this ceremony is obliterated by the voyeurism of the colonial gaze. Submitted to the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival, the documentary won the title for Best Historical Film.
Wednesday 28 April / Week 2: Archive as testimony
Brazil / France, 2019, 28’
Apiyemiyekî? departs from Brazilian educator and indigenous rights militant Egydio Schwade’s archive, Casa da Cultura de Urubuí, in his home at Presidente Figueiredo (Amazonas). The archive houses over 3,000 drawings made by the Waimiri-Atroari, a people native to the Brazilian Amazon, during their first literacy experience. Based on Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, drawings became one of the first methods for reciprocal knowledge exchange and production. During these literacy exercises, the most recurrent question posed by the Waimiri- Atroari was: “why did Kamña (“the civilized”) killed Kiña (Waimiri-Atraori)? Apiyemiyekî? (Why?)”. The drawings document and construct a collective visual memory from their learning experience, perspective and territory, while attesting to a series of violent attacks the Waimiri-Atroari were submitted to during the Military Dictatorship. Apiyemiyekî? animates and transposes the drawings to the landscapes that they narrate, asserting the necessity of reclaiming collective memory in order to build a common future.
Beatriz Santiago Muñoz
Puerto Rico, 2017, 26’
Oneiromancer is the first of a series of works on the sensorial unconscious of the Puerto Rican anti-colonial movement. It centers on the figures, places, and leftover materials of the members of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, a clandestine group, who were arrested and sentenced to near-lifetime prison terms for seditious conspiracy, a political crime.
Wednesday 5 May / Week 3: A distributed archive
Videograms of a Revolution
Harun Farocki & Andrei Ujica
Romania / Germany 1992 107’
Videograms of a Revolution compiles and edits over 125 hours of found footage to chronicle, hour by hour, the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime in December 1989.
“[In the autumn of 1989], it was Romania, with its unity of time and place, which delivered the most complete scenario of a revolution. Everything happened in just ten days and in just two cities: the uprising of the people, the overturning of power, the execution of the rulers…. [In Bucharest], the [state] television station was occupied by demonstrators, [who] stayed on air for around 120 hours and so established a new historical site: the television studio. In addition, the events were recorded by amateur video enthusiasts and cameramen from the state film industry. We have gathered all these various recordings together in order to reconstruct the visual chronology of these days. The aim was to disentangle the mass of images and to arrange sequences in such a way as to suggest that, for five days, one was moving from camera to camera on one and the same reel of film”
Wednesday 12 May / Week 4: The hall of mirrors
13BC (Vic Brooks, Lucy Raven, and Evan Calder Williams)
USA, 2019, 18’19
Corpse Cleaner focuses on the letters exchanged between Claude Eatherly, the air force pilot whose “all clear” weather report enabled the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and Günther Anders, the German philosopher, theorist and antinuclear activist whose work fixated on technology’s capacity to outpace human intention. The film descends into the crowded jumble of a working prop house and its arsenal of replicas and leftovers. Rather than an edit of archival foot- age cut together in order to sketch a way through scattered histories, the slow passage of the camera is a montage without cuts, a compression and set of injunctions, collisions, and echoes assembled in physical space. The inanimate props at Encore/Eclectic are gathered in loose categories, mixing together original objects and facsimiles with no distinction between them. They are meant to be seen only to be rented and dislocated to other sets and settings, to help transpose a scene from 2019 in New York to whatever time and place.
Adam Pugh is a curator, writer and designer based in Newcastle upon Tyne, where until recently he ran the artists' moving image programme Projections at Tyneside Cinema. As a writer, he contributes regularly to Art Monthly; and has taught, delivered talks and served on international juries for institutions and events worldwide.
We want our events to be inclusive and accessible for everyone. The films included in this programme will be subtitled.