Christopher Harris - still/here
Eye on Art: Christopher Harris - still/here
This evening, Eye welcomes a special guest online: filmmaker Christopher Harris will present a selection of his films – all shot on 16mm – and talk about the background to his work and his working process, which reads African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema. Curator Julian Ross will moderate a Q&A after the films.
Christopher Harris makes films and video installations. His work employs manually and photo-chemically altered appropriated moving images, staged re-enactments of archival artifacts and interrogations of documentary conventions. His current project is a series of optically printed 16mm experimental films in conversation with canonical works of African American literature.
28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark) (2009, 3', 16mm)
Approximates a small child’s fantasy world in the dark. In a series of close-ups, the nightlight is transformed into a meditative star-spangled sky. An improvisation, edited inside the camera and shot on a single reel. The stars swirl in silence. (International Film Festival Rotterdam)
Halimuhfack (2016, 4', 16mm-to-HD)
A performer lip-synchs to archival audio featuring the voice of author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston as she describes her method of documenting African-American folk songs in Florida. The flickering images were produced with a hand-cranked Bolex so that the lip-synch is deliberately erratic and the rear-projected, grainy, looped images of Masai tribesmen and women, recycled from an educational film, become increasingly abstract as the audio transforms into an incantation.
Reckless Eyeballing (2004, 14', 16 mm)
Taking its name from the Jim Crow-era [prohibition against black men looking at white women], this hand-processed, optically-printed amalgam reframes desire by way of everything from D.W. Griffith to Foxy Brown and Angela Davis: "Your lover belongs to this band of murderous outlaws." (Cinematexas International Short Film Festival)
still/here (2000/2001, 60', digital restoration of 16mm)
still/here is a meditation on the vast landscape of ruins and vacant lots that constitute the north side of St. Louis, an area populated almost exclusively by working class and working poor African Americans. Though it constructs a documentary record of blight and decay, still/here is a refusal of closure that dwells within the space of rupture and confronts the presence of a profound absence. (Christopher Harris)
This evening is organised in collaboration with Canal++