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 current project is a series of optically-printed 16mm experimental films in conversation with canonical works of African-American literature.
On March 25th at 3:00pm in the Stirn Auditorium, Harris will deliver the 2022 Kessar Lecture. Moderated Q&A and a reception will follow and livestreaming will be available.
How can we rethink obsolescence, historical context and perhaps even nostalgia in regard to Black cinematic practices employing analog found footage? In this talk, Christopher Harris will discuss his bricolage filmmaking practice that remixes and mismatches source materials drawn from the detritus of visual and sonic cultures. Highlighting the ways in which he juxtaposes and layers free floating sound/image fragments as an act of refusal, Harris will explain how his films resist what Sylvia Wynter describes as the “narratively condemned status” so insistently imposed upon the Black diaspora by the absences and silences of the archive. As Harris puts it, his films meet the epistemic violence of the archive on its own terms, matching it silence for silence, rupture for rupture, and gap for gap.
On March 24th at 5:00pm in the Keefe Campus Theater, Harris will screen his landmark film still/here (2000, 60 mins, shot on 16mm), a stunning meditation on urban ruin and extraction in the predominantly African-American northern St. Louis, along with two other short films.
Further details are available on our Keyssar Lecture Series page.
Image from still/here (image description: low angle black and white shot of the front of a movie theater. The marquee is falling apart, but the sign remains intact: CRITERION).