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Filmmaker John Akomfrah screens two of his films. The Call of Mist (Redux), set on a remote Scottish island, is an elegy to his late mother and a vivid meditation on death, memory and cloning. Initially commissioned in 1998 for the BBC, the 2012 re-edited version incorporates additional images that were removed from the television version, recovering Akomfrah’s original conception. Handsworth Songs (1986) is a richly layered documentary representing the hopes and dreams of post-war Black British people in the light of the civil disturbances of the 1980s. It engages with Britain’s colonial past, public and private memories, and the struggles of race and class. The title refers to the riots in Handsworth, Birmingham during September 1985. The soundtrack is influenced by reggae, punk and the post-industrial noise movement. Black Audio Film Collective was founded in 1982 by a group of sociology, psychology and fine art students. The Collective undertook all aspects of production and distribution of their films.
A virtual conversation via Zoom with Akomfrah, Deana Lawson and Tina Campt follows the screening.
Black Earth is a film series organized by Princeton’s Dorothy Krauklis ’78 Professor of Visual Arts Deana Lawson in collaboration with Visiting Professor in the Program in Visual Arts and the Department of Art and Archaeology Tina Campt. It aspires to a twofold intervention in how we envision the multiple ecologies of our planet. On the one hand, it is a meditation on Earth’s landscape through a deep dive into one of the primary materials that supports and sustains it: soil. It engages soil in its most elevated state, as nutrient rich black soil that nurtures and enriches a multitude of species. On the other hand, it hones in on Earth as a social ecology inhabited, shaped, and enlivened by Black genius. The series includes films by Khalik Allah, Rob Herring, Kahlil Joseph and John Akomfrah and curated conversations with the filmmakers and a selection of their collaborators.