Bodies of Fact: The Archive from Witness to Voice

Krista Belle Stewart, Seraphine, Seraphine, digital video still, September 17, 1967.

Can documentary images be estranged from their original ethnographic purpose, from their functions as cultural regulators or national narratives? As regulatory systems, how do archives assign social positions and how are these solidified?

In a conversation with curator Denise Ryner the artists Filipa César and Krista Belle Stewart, the author and artist Grada Kilomba and the radio activist Diana McCarty, will discuss how the films shown reinterpret documentary moving images of colonialism and decolonializationas personal testimony and embodied memory rather than as political and cultural fact.

Filipa César is a filmmaker and artist concerned with the porous boundaries between the moving image and the spheres of its reception, between fiction and the documentary, and the economic, political, and poetic dimensions of filmmaking. Artist Grada Kilomba works on the themes of memory, trauma, racism, gender and post-colonialism. Diana McCarty co-founded the free artists’ radio FM,, the cultural radio network and the faces-l international community for women in media. In Conakry (2013), images from the film archives of 1972 Guinea-Bissau’s independence movement are the background for reflections on history and narratives linking time, space and media. The 16-mm film was produced as a single shot at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

Krista Belle Stewart engages the complexities of archival material using processes that allow for both intimacy and coincidence and the meeting of people from different eras. In Seraphine, Seraphine (2015), Stewart combines documentary footage of her mother, Seraphine, into moments of a life of private memory and public inquiry. Excerpts from a 1967 docudrama show the senior Stewart as Canada’s first indigenous public health nurse. Shots from 2013 document her testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as a survivor of an oppressive system of cultural genocide of the indigenous population by the Indian Residential School Program.

HKW’s long-term project Kanon-Fragen examines the 'narrative architectures' of the institutional canon in geopolitical contexts through a series of historical case studies, ranging from individual figures, critical debates and exhibition histories to the role of state patronage in the context of the major political and intellectual shifts of modernity.

Exhibitions and events for Kanon-Fragen are conceived by Anselm Franke, head of the Department of

Visual Arts, in curatorial collaborations with Irene Albers, Diedrich Diederichsen, Nida Ghouse, Paz Guevara, Tom Holert, Antonia Majaca, Denise Ryner, David Teh, Michael Vazquez and others.

Bodies of Fact: The Archive from Witness to Voice 
With Filipa César, Grada Kilomba, Diana McCarty and Krista Belle Stewart
Screening, artist talk
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 2 – 7 pm
In English, free admission

2 – 7 pm
Looped film screenings of Seraphine, Seraphine (39 min) and Conakry (11 min) 
Konferenzraum 1

4 pm
Artist talk
Hirschfeld Bar

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