Category: Film Archives & Militant Cinema

UNCOMMON GROUND: ART ECOLOGY AND DE-COLONIAL FREEDOM | T. J. Demos in conversation with Mao Mollona


School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Film Archive and Militant Cinema. The online meeting is on Friday, April 16th at 19:00 CET; 10:00 PTS.  Join us on Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89728223582  Meeting ID: 897 2822 3582 – Streaming online on IRI YouTube Channel – Share the FB event

Having worked for more than two decades at the intersection of art, de-colonial politics and ecological justice, art historian T. J. Demos has consistently theorized and written about art as an experimental practice of “world making”, based on speculative knowledge creation and posed against racial and colonial capitalism, emerging in the dialogical encounter between artists and various communities of action and social movements. Demos’ vision of “ecology as intersectionality” locates revolutionary agency at the crossroad, and, as an articulation, of different, socio-political, and economic fields, and out of the labour of connection, mediation, and recuperation of shifting and diverse “uncommon grounds”. In conversation with Mao Mollona, Demos will discuss contemporary practices of de-colonial and anti-capitalist artistic engagement, particularly resurgent forms of black and indigenous activism. Besides, in line with recent IRI’s iterations, he will also discuss his involvement with the Zapatista political experiment in Chiapas, considered as a form of anti-colonial and anti-capitalist socio-political experiment, a revolutionary indigenous aesthetics and an experiential practice of land-based autonomy and self-determination. 

EUTOPIAN IMAGES FOR OUR TIMES | Philip Rizk

EUTOPIAN IMAGES FOR OUR TIMES. THINKING THE COMMONS WITH IMAGES an expanded reading group facilitated by Philip Rizk as part of the School of Mutation online activities

This reading group of images and words is limited to 12 participants. Since space is limited please only sign up if you know you will be able to participate fully.
The group held in English will meet once a week over the course of 7 weeks starting at 7pm CET on January 25 2021. The viewing & reading materials (usually 1 film per week and ~ 50 pages of reading) will be made available at sign up and should be engaged with prior to each meeting. These will be collectively discussed in the 2 hour online sessions which won’t be recorded.
To join or if you have questions please email the facilitator by January 22nd 2021: rizkphilip AT gmail DOT com

“There is a song older than world here, it heals deeper than the colonizer’s blade could ever cut. And there, our voice. We were always healers. This is the first medicine.”

An indigenous Anti-Futurist Manifesto

In the early 1500s Thomas More wrote a novel entitled with a word he coined, “utopia.” 500 years later the play on words More had intended has been lost and only one of the two possible meanings of the term remains in common use: outopia, the impossible place. In the workshop “Eutopian images for our times,” we will resurrect the second possibility of the term: eutopia, a better place, with eyes set on the present – not a faraway future. In the seven session reading group we will engage with films and critical readings on themes of counter-histories, agricultural self-sufficiency and organic seed production, the commons, anti-neocolonialism, anti-imperialism and afro- futurist sounds for the now. A central pivot of the workshop is the exploration of what images can do and what kind of images allow us to theorize and think. If images have the potential to open up a critical space of imagining different worlds, can they arouse eutopic experiences for our times?

LUTA CA CABA INDA – THE STRUGGLE IS NOT OVER YET | Mao Mollona & Filipa César


Introduces Mao Mollona, with Filipa César. The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Film Archive and Militant Cinema holds this online meeting on NOVEMBER 12th at 18:00 CET. Join us on Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89498935345?pwd=ZTlhODh0dVhkRjBRTExKWm8vMmVXdz09 Meeting ID: 894 9893 5345

Luta ca caba inda (The struggle is not over yet) On the militant film archives

For nearly thirty years, an archive of film and audio material was stored at the Guinean Film Institute in Bissau, institutionally neglected and on the verge of complete ruination. The material in it is a testimony of a decade of collective and internationally connected cinema praxis in Guinea Bissau, as part of the people’s struggle for independence from Portuguese colonialism (1963-1974) and subsequent nation building. 

In 2012, in collaboration with the Guinean filmmakers Sana na N’Hada, Flora Gomes and Suleimane Biai and with institutional support from Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (Berlin), artist Filipa César, curator Tobias Hering and many others embarked on a long term project aimed at re-accessing this archive. Its peculiar state, suspended between ruination and work-in-progress, activates questions about past promises and their contemporary pertinence. 

The project was titled Luta ca caba inda (The struggle is not over yet), after one set of reels found in the archive, a documentary film from 1980 on post-independence Guinea-Bissau abandoned in the editing process. The title cursed the completion of the film, the struggle and also this never to be finished project.

In the course of the Luta ca caba inda project a series of discursive events and public screenings have been dedicated to activating the potencies of this collection. Luta ca caba inda, as an informal collective of people and praxis, enables an ecology of relations and spaces of care and subjectivity to emerge, materializing in collective assemblies where images and sounds of the archive are discussed between the filmmakers, and European and African audiences. Here the cinema acted as a collective editing room and assembly for reflecting on conditions of the present and projecting new futures.

FILMING AS TRAINING IN THE PRACTICE OF FREEDOM | Mao Mollona & MTL Collective Amin Husain & Nitasha Dhillon

Introduces Mao Mollona, with Amin Husain and Nitasha Dhillon MTL Collective. The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Film Archive and Militant Cinema holds this online meeting on 30 OCTOBER at 19:00 CET. Join us on Zoom platform by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89343627345 Meeting ID: 893 4362 7345

Decolonial freedom, means that freedom looks different for different people. It’s about other worlds existing within this world, about de-centering the center and having many centers, and still about a shared horizon of liberation that is always in the making and never ending. So no to means and ends, to dichotomies, and yes to and upon a politics that Fanon would say unsettles everything and creates something new that perhaps is and never was old, just not felt or seen.

Decolonial film is not made in isolation from movements and organizing but rather emerges—analytically, aesthetically, and economically—within and alongside movements and against the set rhythms of colonial logic. It is a form of action, a way of learning and doing from below, an epistemology of the south, emerging from practices, communities and locales of anti-capitalist and decolonial struggles, unmoored from the normative spaces and sites of settler, colonial and racist capitalism, and producing its own economies and ecologies of love and care.

Film as Action in the expanded sense. Between the screen of the film being viewed and the viewer lies the chemistry that can produced a shared basis and offering of affirmation, and confirmation, and language to ask better questions, another step, on the path less known and thus less travelled, perhaps longer, and in this way, also anti-capitalist, because the relationship to time is not about expediency, but an understanding that we walk we do not run because we are going very far.

Here, we are not talking about film as an object. We are talking about film as part of a space that can allow for breathing, for better questions, for transformation, for enunciation, for bridges of solidarity that build power across, and engages in the war being waged in the imagination. One answer is process, another is undercommons, a third is participation, a foot in the street and a foot in aesthetics or film, and another always in living and breathing, that triangulation.If decolonization necessitates abolition, how can cinema be used towards that purpose, interrogating what lies beyond and behind the frozen visual reality produced by the imperialist apparatuses of image-making (Azulay 2019)?

Experience and identity are not important in themselves. Fuck representation. Represent to whom? Where? Why? In the process of filmmaking as training in the practice of freedom, we are thinking of constructing relations, unearthing bonds, memorializing debts, upending domination, hallucinating time, perhaps by holding space for militant love and radical acts. text by Amin, Nitasha and Mao

FILMOGRAPHY
  • Pontecorvo, G. 1966. Battle of Algiers.
  • Solanas and Getino, 1968. La Hora de los Hornos (Hour of the Furnaces)
  • Heiny Srour, 1984. Leila and the Wolves.
  • Assia Djebar, 1977. The Nouba of the Women of Mont Chenoua.
  • Akomfrah, J. 1986. Handsworth Songs
  • Caldwell, B. 1979. I & I: An African Allegory. 
  • Gerima, H. 1979. Bush Mama César, F. (2017) Spell Reel. 
  • Guzman, P. 1975. The Battle of Chile. 
  • Jafa, A. 2016. Love is the Message. The Message is Death. 
  • Nicolas, B. 1977. Daydream Therapy. 
  • Obomsawin, A. 1984. Incident at Restigouche (Canada, 46 min.)
  • Povinelli, E and the Karrabing.  2016 Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams 
  • Sanjines, J. 1969. The Blood of the Condor. 
BIBLIOGRAPHY 
  • Azoulay, Ariella. 2011. “Getting Rid of the Distinction between the Aesthetic and the Political.” Theory, Culture & Society 27 (7–8): 239–262. 
  • Azoulay, A. (2019). Potential History. Unlearning Imperialism. 
  • Barclay, B. 2003. Celebrating Fourth Cinema. Illusions. https://www.academia.edu/4905111/Printed_in_Illusions_Magazine_NZ_July_2003_CELEBRATING_FOURTH_CINEMA
  • Campt, T. 2019. Black Visuality and the Practice of Refusal. Women and Performance.
  • Croombs, M. (2019) In the Wake of Militant Cinema: Challenges for Film Studies. Discourse. -Dhillon, N. 2020. Life, Film and Decolonial Struggle. https://worldrecordsjournal.org/tag/nitasha-dhillon/
  • Getino, Octavio. 2011. ‘The Cinema as Political Fact’. Third Text 25 (1): 41–53.
  • García Espinosa, Julio. “For an Imperfect Cinema.” Translated by Julianne Burton. Jump Cut 20 (1979): 24–26. Accessed September 2, 2016. 
  • Grande, S. (2013) Accumulation of the primitive: the limits of liberalism and the politics of occupy Wall Street’. Settlers Colonial Studies. 
  • Gray, R. and K. Eshun, 2011. The Militant mage a Cine-Geography. Third Text. Dillon, N. 2020. Life, Films and Decolonial Struggle. https://worldrecordsjournal.org/tag/nitasha-dhillon/
  • Lorde, Audrey. Poetry is not a luxury.
  • MTL, “From Institutional Critique to Institutional Liberation: A Decolonial Perspective on The Crises of Contemporary Art’, October 165 (Summer 2018)
  • Povinelli, E. Geontologies (2018) 
  • Rizk, Philip. 2018. 858-No archive is innocent.
  • Teshome, G. 2011. Towards a Critical Theory of Third World Film. Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. 
  • Zeynabu, I. D. 2014. Keeping the Black in Media Production. One L. A. Rebellion Filmmaker’s Note. Cinema Journal 53.

BIOS

Nitasha Dhillon has a B.A. in Mathematics from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Media Study – University of Buffalo. Nitasha also attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York and School of International Center of Photography.

Amin Husain has a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law, and an LL.M. from Columbia Law School. Amin practiced law for five years before transitioning to art, studying at the School of the International Center of Photography and Whitney Independent Study Program. 

Together, Amin and Nitasha are MTL, a collaboration that joins research, aesthetics, organizing, and action in its art practice. MTL is a founder of Tidal: Occupy Theory, Direct Action Front for Palestine, Global Ultra Luxury Faction, and most recently MTL+, the collective facilitating Decolonize This Place. Currently, MTL is in post-production of an experimental feature film, Unsettling (forthcoming end of 2020).

Unsettling takes viewers on a journey to Palestine, a land frequently invoked yet rarely heard or seen beyond the distorted representations of mainstream media and pain-driven documentaries. Unlike other films that take Palestine as their subject, the emphasis of this project is on land, life, and liberation rather than Palestinian oppression and dispossession, which, in any event, is captured unavoidably.