Screening, Talk

Bodies of Fact: The Archive from Witness to Voice

With Filipa César, Grada Kilomba, Diana McCarty and Krista Belle Stewart, moderated by Denise Ryner

Sat, Jul 8, 2017
2–7 pm
Free admission
2-7 pm Screenings in loop: Seraphine, Seraphine (English original version, 39 min) and Conakry (in English with Portuguese subtitles, 11 min)
Conference room 1

4 pm Artist Talk
Hirschfeld Bar

In English
Krista Belle Stewart, Seraphine, Seraphine, digital video still, September 17, 1967. Image courtesy the artist.

Institutionalization and positioning are conducted through the regulatory system of the archive and the document. In the film works shown, Filipa César, Grada Kilomba, Diana McCarty and Krista Belle Stewart shift the reading of archival footage from universal, political and cultural fact to one that imagines documents as extensions of private witnessing and embodied memory.

The artists in this program counter the historicizing of archival footage. They will join curator Denise Ryner to discuss how they address the material and aesthetic legacies of colonial encounters and decolonization through archival footage in their respective works. Can archival documents be diverted from their intended service to ethnographic practice, cultural regulation or national narratives?

Conakry (2013), directed by Filipa César, superimposes archival film, commissioned by the leader of Guinea-Bissau's independence movement, Amílcar Cabral, with the words of artist and writer, Grada Kilomba, and radio activist Diana McCarty, into a reflection on personal and cultural sovereignty. Thus, a journey through time, space and media unfolds. The film staged at Haus der Kulturen der Welt is a sequence shot on 16mm.

In Seraphine, Seraphine (2015) Krista Belle Stewart intermixes documentary footage of the artist's mother, Seraphine Stewart, in the moments of private memory and public inquiry that bookend her life as Canada's first Indigenous public health nurse and survivor of an oppressive system of cultural genocide, Canada's now defunct Indian Residential School Program. The senior Stewart appears in a 1967 documentary, in which she is profiled as a young nursing student, and in footage of her 2013 testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

To the biography of Filipa César

Grada Kilomba is a Berlin-based, Portuguese interdisciplinary artist and writer working on the themes of memory, trauma, race, gender and the “post-colonial condition.” She has presented her work internationally including most recently at documenta 14, 32a Bienal de São Paulo 2016, Art Basel 2016, Cape Town Art Fair, transmediale, Secession Museum Vienna. Through her artworks, Kilomba addresses what she terms “the colonial wound,” by exploring new formats to decolonize knowledge and narrative.

To the biography of Diana McCarty

To the biography of Krista Belle Stewart

Supported by the British Columbia Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Embassy of Canada.