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Black diasporic filmmaking and the political aesthetics of anti-essentialism
Högskolan i Halmstad, Akademin för lärande, humaniora och samhälle, Kontext & kulturgränser (KK).ORCID-id: 0000-0003-0068-8063
2011 (engelsk)Konferansepaper, Publicerat paper (Fagfellevurdert)
Abstract [en]

The fact that Black artists are quite often pigeonholed as spokespersons of Black experience is due to a mimetic understanding of art. Using examples from 1980s Black British diasporic filmmaking I would like to shift the analytical focus from representation and mimesis towards art as interventionist practice. The mysterious deaths of young Black men in police custody form the point of departure for an exploration of memory and mourning in Mysteries in July (Black Audio Film Collective, 1991). Additionally, the Sankofa film collective's Territories (1985) is an exploration of urban space, historiography, heterotopia and Black masculinities, while practices of surveillance and the framing of Blacks via media discourses are addressed in Handsworth Songs (Black Audio Film Collective 1986). These filmic essays, instead of looking at the black male as a given social problem, reflect on its construction through discourses of media and governmentality. Rather than creating a counter-discourse, these films abstain from trying to depict events "as they really happened". Instead, they deconstruct the hegemonic media discourse through the use of self-reflexive means. While counter practices often assume a unified essentialist stand (as in concepts of Afrocentrism and négritude, for example) I would suggest that in 1980s diasporic Black British filmmaking self-reflexivity is employed as a strategy which might be able to solve a notion of "strategic essentialism" (Spivak). Filmmaking thus serves as an epistemological tool to deal with the gaps, fissures and absences in the national visual archive and in hegemonic historiography while at the same time defying notions of homogeneity and authenticity. The use of self-reflexivity enables the films to reflect on modes of exclusion of the Black subject from hegemonic discourses on the ontology of the image and on the filmic apparatus. To sum up, my paper outlines auteurist strategies of dealing with the exclusion of both the official canon and of the collective visual archive of the nation.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2011.
Emneord [en]
Black Audio Film Collective, Handsworth Songs, essay film, diasporic filmmaking
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-15025OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-15025DiVA, id: diva2:411203
Konferanse
9th International Conference of the Collegium for African American Research, "Black States of Desire: Dispossession, Circulation, Transformation", Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, April 6-9, 2011
Tilgjengelig fra: 2011-04-16 Laget: 2011-04-16 Sist oppdatert: 2015-05-04bibliografisk kontrollert

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