Dir: John Akomfrah, 2013, UK, 103 mins, Cert: 12
Wed 11 September // 19:30 / Cinema
After creating his multi-screen installation work about cultural-studies pioneer Stuart Hall, The Unfinished Conversations (2012; currently on exhibit at BALTIC), John Akomfrah felt that his exploration of Hall was not quite finished. The Stuart Hall Project expands and deepens his study of Hall in a lengthier, single-screen documentary format, exploring themes of national and racial identity, family roots, and diasporic life.
One of the most important voices of the New Left, Stuart Hall emigrated from Jamaica in 1951 and became a key architect of the discipline of cultural studies. Hall’s theories of how everyday lived experience intersects with broader movements of social change are brought to the forefront in The Stuart Hall Project, which combines a dizzying array of archival footage—selected from 800 hours of material—including everything from television appearances to home movies. Akomfrah skillfully weaves together this footage with a chronologically presented soundtrack of the works of Miles Davis, which serves to loosely structure the film’s narrative and provide a sense of changing times along with Davis’s evolving musical style.
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This screening is part of a broader programme celebrating the work of filmmaker and artist John Akomfrah, in cooperation with the BALTIC Centre for Contermporary Art. John Akomfrah first came to prominence in the early 1980s through his work with the Black Audio Film Collective, and has since become known as one of the most accomplished moving image artists in the UK. Perhaps best known for his thoughtful and complex use of archival materials in his films, as well as his nuanced reflections on the culture of the black diaspora, Akomfrah is a filmmaker who skillfully weaves past and present, memory and material throughout his work. As a companion to Akomfrah’s multi-screen works currently on exhibit at the BALTIC (6 July–27 October), along with an all-day workshop on ‘Akomfrah and the Archive’ at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab (23 October), five of Akomfrah’s single-screen films will be shown at the Star and Shadow:
Please come join us for this rare opportunity to see these films on a big screen!
We thank the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art for their generous support of this programme.