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This is Film! 2023 TIF#2

#2: Dispossesed Archives

This is Film! 2023 #2: Dispossesed Archives

For the second This is Film! we invite researcher and curator Amal Alhaag to take over the session and present Dispossessed Archives, her year-long research on whiteness, colonial gendered and domestic labour in the Dutch East Indies through Eye's extensive film collection as Eye’s third Scholar in Residence.

poster This is Film! 2023

According to Alhaag, to hang out and dig deep into the archive is to be haunted by how its images and violence sit comfortably in the collective memory of the Netherlands. “Time remixes itself, when one attempts, for months on end, to observe against the grain and listen to the colonial archive. Images and home movies of white Dutch colonial officers depicting daily village life, traditional rituals and mundane domestic acts and work in what was then known as the Dutch East Indies have left a lasting impression.”

In Dispossessed Archives: Subversive Laughter and Colonial Headaches, Alhaag focuses on “the (im)possibility of refusal and dissent by listening to the coded gestures that the domestic workers offered to their ‘superiors’. This alphabet of gestures that domestic workers show could be seen and understood as dissent.

But what space is carved out for their dissent when the archive centralises the colonial everyday life of the ‘master’? And how do we side-step and develop alternative methodologies, tools and technologies that allow us to break down the archive into minuscule pieces to attempt to reassemble equitable histories? And is this enough?”


This afternoon on cinematographic fabulation, subversive strategies and the colonial archive brings together three researchers and artists that approach archive and collection work from different methodologies and practices. Central to this conversation are film excerpts, artistic works and references that focus on refusal and imagination. With contributions by artist, curator and researcher Barby Asante, filmmaker, researcher and curator Jefftha Pattikawa moderated by Amal Alhaag.

A short introduction by Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at Eye and Professor of Film Heritage at the University of Amsterdam). Q&A in collaboration with the Master students of This is Film! class at the University of Amsterdam.


Amal Alhaag is an Amsterdam-based educator, curator and researcher who develops ongoing experimental and collaborative research practice, public programs, and projects on global spatial politics, archives, colonialism, counter-culture, oral histories, and popular culture. For the past two decades, her projects and collaborations with people, initiatives, communities and institutions invite, stage, question, and play with "uncomfortable" issues that riddle, rewrite, remix, share, and compose narratives in impermanent settings.

Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator, and researcher. With a deep interest in black feminist, decolonial methodologies, and what writer and scholar Ebony Coletu describes as descendent epistemology, Asante draws from her Akan heritage, family stories and the histories that have created an African Diaspora to explore the politics of place, space and the ever-present legacies of slavery and colonialism.

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125 min.

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This is Film! 2023

This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice is an annual public lecture series devoted to notable projects in the fields of film restoration and film heritage, with international guest speakers and film screenings.

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campain image This is Film! 2023 (Het tovertoneel (Segundo de Chomón, FR 1907))
still from Queen and the Black Eyed Squint (Barby Asante) (photo: Tiu Makkonen)
This is Film! 2023 TIF#2
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