Speaking in Tongues: a lecture-performance by Christopher Harris


March 29, 2019 2:00pm


Birkbeck Cinema
43 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

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Throughout his career artist and filmmaker Christopher Harris has used film and video installations to re-stage and explore African American accounts of history. Using experimental film techniques, Harris brings disparate mediums into dialogue with one another, in order to present multiple perspectives highlighting experiences of the African diaspora.

In this session Harris will demonstrate and discuss his working method and creative process. For several years, Harris has been working on ‘Speaking in Tongues’, a 16mm film inspired by Ishmael Reed’s novel Mumbo Jumbo, which uses fragments of found footage sourced from Hollywood films, cartoons and documentaries. In this way, ‘Speaking in Tongues’ continues Harris’s long-standing interest in producing counter-narratives, and in this lecture-performance he will unpack some of his research for this project, and present some fragments from this as yet unfinished work.

Accompanying this lecture-performance is Harris’s earlier work Reckless Eyeballing (2004). This is an experimental 16mm short film which, through re-editing fragments from films such as Birth of a Nation (1915) and Foxy Brown (1974), creates fictional encounters that critically examine concepts of ‘the gaze’ from an African American cinematic context.

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