John Akomfrah & Black Audio Fillm Collective: Handsworth Songs (1986)

8 June 2020, dusan

Handsworth Songs was released in 1986 as a cultural response to social unrest in Birmingham and London in October 1985, looking at the way events unfolded, the two deaths (that of black woman Cynthia Jarrett and white policeman Keith Blakelock), and the subsequent media reaction.

Subsequently selected by Okwui Enwezor for inclusion in the 2002 Documenta XI in Kassel and acquired by Tate, this early work by the Black Audio Film Collective has become not only an influential touchstone for an entire genre of essayistic filmmaking, but an important document on the state of race relations in Britain since the landing of the Empire Windrush in 1948.”

“Through an impressionistic mélange of newsreel footage, photographs, and interviews, Handsworth Songs arrives at a powerful, allusive, and deeply personal statement about the black British experience.” (Ashley Clark)

Directed by John Akomfrah/Black Audio Film Collective, 1986
Produced by Lina Gopal
Commissioned by Channel 4 for their series Britain: The Lie of the Land
61 min

Interview with Collective: Paul Gilroy and Jim Pines (Framework, 1988).
Online discussion (18 June 2020)

Commentary: Salman Rushdie, Stuart Hall, Darcus Howe (The Guardian, 1987), Isaac Julien and Kobena Mercer (Screen, 1988), Stuart Hall (ICA Documents, 1989, PDF), Kobena Mercer (The Independent, 1989), Mark Fisher (Sight & Sound, 2011), Dara Waldron (Open Library of Humanities, 2017), Ann Ogidi (BFI, n.d.).

Review: John Sutherland (American Historical Review, 1989).


WEBM (427 MB)

James Benning: Two Cabins (2011)

25 January 2020, dusan

“This project based publication edited by Julie Ault documents and analyzes a body of work by the critically acclaimed filmmaker.

Benning reconstructed Henry David Thoreau’s and Ted Kaczynski’s iconic cabins, and uses these structures to reflect on utopian and dystopian versions of social isolation. Mounted on the walls of each cabin are copies of paintings by so-called outsider artists, also made by Benning. On the surface Benning’s two cabins are night and day, invoking contradictory sets of reclusive intentions and divergent paths leading back out. Deeper inquiry reveals the Thoreau / Kaczynski equation to be inspired. Benning’s engagement makes discernable a multitude of contacts between their motivations, beliefs, and experiences of seclusion. Benning’s armature artfully unfolds a complex articulation of practices of dissent, nonprescriptive ways of living, and the politics of solitude.

The book includes photography by Benning, essays by Julie Ault, Benning, and Dick Hebdige, and extracts from Thoreau’s and Kaczynski’s writings.”

Edited by Julie Ault
Publisher Art Resources Transfer, New York, 2011
ISBN 0923183485, 9780923183486
175 pages
via juleslineal, HT Auditory Scenes

Interview with author (Brian Sholis, Artforum, 2012)

PDF (10 MB)
Film (2011, 31 min)

Crack Cloud: Swish Swash (2017)

29 September 2019, dusan

Made by Crack Cloud, 2017
From the work known as Anchoring Point

via Crack Cloud

MP4 (68 MB)