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Trouble in the Archive: Screening and Conversation with Miranda Pennell

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

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Trouble in the Archive: Screening and Conversation with Miranda Pennell

Birkbeck School of Law Artist in Residence Miranda Pennell will be joined by Piyel Haldar and Avery Gordon for a conversation on engaging with archives, colonial legacies, and the construction of historical narratives. 

Pennell and respondents will discuss the status of archival documents as evidence or 'proofs', and ask how we approach testimonies from troubled pasts without becoming complicit in dehumanising ways of seeing. How can artists and historians interrupt or reverse the perpetrator's gaze in the colonial archive?

Strange Object (Miranda Pennell 15.20 minutes, 2020, HD video). 
The ‘Z’ Unit’s operation in a world far from our own was an experiment of sorts, a test. And this place, inhabited by beings different from ourselves, served as a laboratory. A successful outcome would secure the Z Unit’s future, enabling its enterprise to expand and its methods to be applied to other worlds. 

An investigation into imperial image-making, and destruction.

Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (27.21 minutes, 2010).

Triggered by the memoirs of a medical missionary on the Afghan borderlands, the film is constructed from archive photographs of colonial life on the North West Frontier of British India at the turn of the 20th century. Searching for clues at the margins of images framed at a time of colonial conflict, the film plays sound against image and finds striking continuities in British portrayals of a distant place and people.    


This event is co-hosted by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and Birkbeck Centre for Law and the Humanities.

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