Accepted paper:

Colonial films in contemporary eyes

Authors:

Anna Seiderer (University Paris 8)

Paper short abstract:

The Royal Museum for Central Africa and the Cinémathèque royale de Begique conserves almost seven hundred colonial films. While their typology is quite diverse, they were all framed by the same ideological and political context which is rethought through contemporary artistic practices.

Paper long abstract:

The reality from which man draws his knowledge and the elements of his manipulation has been amplified not only by the development of analytical instruments; It has, increasingly, become itself a reality created by the manipulation of instrument. (Maya Deren) The Royal Museum for Central Africa and the Cinémathèque royale de Belgique conserves almost seven hundred films produced between 19011 and 1960. While their typology is quite diverse, they were all framed by the same ideological and political context of the Belgian colony of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Seeing these images today evokes tensions and conflicts which are important to confront for social and epistemological reasons. I propose to present the first steps of a research project in which contemporary artists and art students as well as art historians, historians, anthropologists and philosophers together address these images as a material through which the still troublesome colonial past might become transmissible through new practices and manipulations. We'll analyze different gestures, crystalized in the images, and which constitute them (gestures of the filmmaker, of the objectified subjects, of the montage, of viewing and interpreting). The violence of these films is not so much in the representations themselves but in the uses of the medium and the power relationship which is still expressed by its institutional control. Working on and with the film medium through contemporary artistic practice enables us to "deframe" and rethink the construction of the past and to think its contemporary renegotiations and possibilities.

panel P089
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