Speaking in Tongues
Christopher Harris is a filmmaker whose films and video installations read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema.Artist Bio
Speaking in Tongues is a hand-processed 16mm film inspired by Ishmael Reed’s novel Mumbo Jumbo. Mumbo Jumbo freely mixes historical, social and political events with fiction in an effect that is self-consciously anachronistic, employing a variety of literary and visual conventions. Speaking in Tongues takes its inspiration from the novel’s themes as well as its polyglot structure. The film uses original footage interspersed with found footage taken from documentaries, cartoons, Hollywood movies and burlesque peep shows to obliquely reference characters and events in Mumbo Jumbo. Harris employs optical printing in conjunction with photo-chemical and direct cinema manipulations such as dye transfers, hole punching, scratching and painting directly on the filmstrip. The film aims to produce a counter-narrative to Western hegemony over African culture in the New World.
Iowa City, IA
Christopher Harris is a filmmaker whose films and video installations read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema. His work employs manually and photo-chemically altered appropriated moving images, staged re-enactments of archival artifacts and interrogations of documentary conventions. His award-winning experimental films include a long-take look at a post-industrial urban landscape, an optically printed and hand-processed film about black outlaws, a pinhole film about the cosmic consequences of the sun’s collapse, a macro lens close up of a child’s nightlight and a double-projection film about a theme park performance of Christ’s Passion. Harris recently completed two multi-screen HD video installations that reenact and reimagine the slave daguerreotypes commissioned by Louis Agassiz in 1850. His work has been exhibited at festivals, museums and cinematheques throughout North America and Europe.