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Sunday Shorts: Archive Revisited

This week’s Sunday Shorts looks at a series of short films that use archive material in to create new themes and ideas. Often subverting or reusing the original material, and thinks how artists and filmmakers revisit/reuse/rethink the archives both physically and metaphorically.

The first film is Photograph of Jesus (2010) by Laurie Hill. It was created after Getty Images set up a film competition which would make use of images in Getty's Hulton Archive, with the aim of highlighting the breadth and depth of content available at the Archives.

The second film you will see is an extract from Apiyemiyeki (2019) by Ana Vaz, it is a portrait that departs from Brazilian educator and indigenous rights militant Egydio Schwade's archive, where there is over 3000 drawings made by the Waimiri- Atroari, a people native to the Brazilian Amazon, during their first literacy experience. The film as the artist comments ‘animates and transposes their drawings to the landscapes and sights that they narrate searching to echo their recurrent question and trusting that memory really is a necessary engine to build a common future.’

The next film is Salise Hughes, The Swimmer (2010). It uses film that has been painted over, and tells the narrative of a man who discovers the back yard swimming pools doting the landscape in front of him form a river leading to his house. He decides to swim home. The filmic technique creates a bold visual style, that removes but also replaces narrative.

Gossamer Conglomerate (2001), by Courtney Hoskins, uses the very material of film as a form of archive. Itexplores the nature of film by placing the coloured fresh film upon a colourless base of film that has been destroyed by the molecular breakdown associated with vinegar syndrome. The work puts together both old and new and represents the life cycle of film.

A rather quirky short film Future Perfect (2019), from Sean McKenna, which focuses on a drawing done by a child of his parents, which is then placed in a time capsule. The capsule survives as the earth appears to end, and the capsule is subsequently found by some aliens who end up using the drawing as a blueprint for what they think humans look like. It is a dark and funny short, with a quirky twist, and is narrated by comedian Julian Barratt.

The last film you will see today is Martha Rosler’s, Because This is Britain (2014), it offers a visualisation of phrases that were used by David Cameron whilst he was Prime Minister, during a speech in August 2011. Images that accompany the speech feature random passerbys, teenagers, the Bullingdon Club, amongst others, which all demonstrate the division and different identities in British society. This work like much of her other films addresses themes of power, identity and geopolitics.

Film Links

Laurie Hill, Photograph of Jesus, 2010, 6.49:

Ana Vaz, APIYEMIYEKÎ?, 2019, 28mins (extract):

Salise Hughes, The Swimmer, 2010, 3.54mins:

Courtney Hoskins, Gossamer Conglomerate, 2001, 16mm, 4mins

Sean McKenna, Future Perfect, 2019, 5:30min:

Martha Rosler - Because This Is Britain, 2014, 3mins:

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