Inside Out Festival event on Wed 21 Oct (1-5pm)
Birkbeck Cinema, Gordon Square.
Walls of Film: the memory of public spheres
Date: Wednesday 21st October 2009
Time: 1.00pm – 5.00pm
Location: Birkbeck Cinema, Gordon Square view map
Organised by The Methods Lab, Sociology Dept, Goldsmiths, University of
Screenings and Presentations from – Prof. Avtar Brah (Birkbeck), Jasbir
Panesar (UEL), Alia Syed (Film maker & Research Fellow, Southampton
George Shire (Cultural Critic), Gil Toffell (Leverhulme Research Fellow,
Queen Mary College) and Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths).
Working on different and historically located diasporic locations with
film, this panel will address the space(s) of film viewing, as well as the
space of working with film as academics, researchers, archivists, film
makers and collaborators. The event will examine the ways in which film
both opens up and constrains their abilities to make visible memories and
journeys that are otherwise absent from the public domain.
Avtar Brah & Jasbir Panesar will screen and discuss a project they
initiated (in the nineties) in Southall. Well before the current explosion
of visual sociology and participatory media, they facilitated Asian
elders, who visited a day centre, to acquire the technical skills to make
a film about themselves. In languages and notations of their choice, the
elders directed this rarely seen movie of their journeys of life.
Alia Syed will screen and converse with George Shire about her film The
Route, which addresses the intricacies of inter-familial relationships
(fraught and supportive)between four generations of women. The act of
filming, who films who, how each woman wishes to be seen and to see is the
films subject matter. A split screen provides a discursive space inviting
the viewer to engage “both at and through the screen”. At the centre of it
is Alia Syed’s grandmother painting a wall a deep rose pink.
Gil Toffell will present his archival and memory based research on the
life world of Jewish cinema in the inter-WW2 period in Europe and America.
With particular attention to East End London as a site of exhibition and
reception, he will offer an insight into how cinema enabled a minority
social group to endure culturally; as well as giving an empirical account
of the difficulties Jewish cultural outputs had in gaining recognition in
a mass-public sphere. This paper will use theoretical categories
developed to elucidate the notion of the public sphere to explore these
Nirmal Puwar will screen a trilogy of films focused on a cinema which has
sat as a ruin for over twenty years, is due for demolition and was at one
time a thriving South Asian cinema, owned by forty shareholders in
post-WW2 Britain. Left with the walls, the films and the memories of this
public sphere, together the films explore different collaborative methods
for engaging with complex histories and futurities through in-habitation
of (public) space, voice, sound, colour, stone and paper are called upon.
Menace, melancholia and every day practice move as layered textures in
concurrence and tension in Cinema III (2009, dir: N.Puwar/S.Sharma), which
is the final part of a trilogy, made after Kabhi Ritz Kabhie Palladium
(2003, dir: K.Powar/N.Puwar) and Coventry Ritz(2007, dir N.Puwar).