Tag Archives: Videos

Sustainable Art Communities: Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean

Marlon Griffith, 2012, Kawa no ji, japanese washi, dimensions variable, installed at Mino, Gifu, Japan.

Marlon Griffith, 2012, Kawa no ji, japanese washi, dimensions variable, installed at Mino, Gifu, Japan.

‘Sustainable Art Communities: Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean’ explores how the understanding and formation of sustainable community for the Caribbean and its global diaspora may be supported by art practice, curating and museums. It fosters networks of exchange and collaboration among academics, artists, curators and policymakers from the UK and the Netherlands, as well as various countries in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean and their diasporas.

The second conference in this series will be held this week (3-4th December 2013) at InIVA, London – to see the full conference programme click here

Confirmed speakers include:
Alessio Antoniolli (UK), Marielle Barrow (Trinidad),
Charles Campbell (Jamaica/UK), Annalee Davis (Barbados),
Joy Gregory (UK), Therese Hadchity (Barbados),
Glenda Heyliger (Aruba), Rosemarijn Hoefte (Netherlands),
Yudhishthir Raj Isar (France/India), Tessa Jackson (UK),
Nancy Jouwe (Netherlands), Charl Landvreugd (Netherlands),
Wayne Modest (Netherlands),
Petrona Morrison (Jamaica), Jynell Osborne (Guyana),
Marcel Pinas (Suriname),
Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname), Leon Wainwright (UK), and Kitty Zijlmans (Netherlands)

Sustainable Art Communities is a two-year international research project led by Dr Leon Wainwright (The Open University, UK), with Co-Investigator Professor Dr Kitty Zijlmans (Leiden University), funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC, UK), in partnership with the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts, London.

The First Conference in this series was held earlier this year (5-6th  February 2013) at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam.

Speakers included:

Petrina Dacres (Jamaica), Marlon Griffith (Japan/Trinidad), Rosemarijn Höfte (Netherlands), Tessa Jackson (UK), Erica James (US/Bahamas), Roshini Kempadoo (UK), Tirzo Martha (Curaçao), Wayne Modest (Netherlands), Nicholas Morris (Germany/Jamaica), Alex van Stipriaan (Netherlands), Leon Wainwright (UK) and Kitty Zijlmans (Netherlands).

Marlon Griffith, Location and Actions, Panel 4 Paper 2, 5 February 2013, Tropenmuseum

Marlon Griffith, Location and Actions, Panel 4 Paper 2, 5 February 2013, Tropenmuseum

Video footage of the conference is now available online at the Open Arts Archive.

To find out more about the project, the theme underpinning it and the resources generated from it click here.

Ole Time Carnival in Trinidad

This week’s video feature is a series of three clips called Ole Time Carnival, 1959.

The colour footage is accompanied by the somewhat suspect ‘Ole time’ ‘authoritative’ voice of the ethnographer-journalist akin to that heard over the posthumously completed documentary footage of Maya Deren’s Divine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti which similarly ends with a look at Haitian carnival from 1947-1951.

Part one opens with a trio of devilish looking masks grinning out at us who give way to footage of preparations for carnival in 1950s Trinidad – we are told that participants delve into the archives to research their annual creations inspired by cultures, histories and more recent characters as disparate as the Ancient Egyptians, Ivan the Terrible of Russia and Charlie Chaplin.  Contemporary political comment too is visible not least through a large group of participants dressed as a “complete naval taskforce U.S. style” pointing guns at the crowd or hobbling around in drunken groups – the commentator prefers to see this as part of a “theatre of much-happiness” rather than a biting satire on U.S. Imperialism.

Throughout the wealth of costumes and performances shown also present the endless interweaving of histories that Trinidad and the Caribbean region as a whole embodies. Characters and dress inspired by African, European, Asian and (Native) American cultures remind us of historical migrations – forced and otherwise – the cultural clashes, and commodity flows of the transatlantic slave trade and indentured eras of the Atlantic World.  The at times problematic commentary reminds us of the discursive legacies of these systems, while the fluidity of their inter-mingling in the crowd anticipate the continuation of movements across the globe into our contemporary era and the proliferating scholarship of hybridity, diasporas, creolisation and relation.

The comments for each of these videos on Youtube also make for some interesting reading as many commenters respond strongly to the costume and performance presented, harking back to carnival of the 50s to 80s which resembled “street theatre” before the event “deteriorated into a ‘masquerade mockery’ of Brazil”. Whatever your opinion of contemporary Trinidadian carnival though, the beauty and creativity of costume and performance in these videos of “the greatest show on earth” is worth a watch.

Haitilab Co-Directors Speak

A beautiful work created by Edouard Duval-Carrié collaboratively with researchers involved in Haitilab. Click here to find out more about this artwork: http://fhi.duke.edu/haitiamber/

This week’s video post features two interviews each with one of the co-directors of Haitilab: professors Laurent Dubois (History and Romance Studies) and Deborah Jenson (French and Romance Studies). Haitilab is the first humanities laboratory at John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute of Duke University and is an exciting model for the development and integration of humanities research at universities across all levels from undergraduate upwards. “The lab merges research, education, and practical applications of innovative thinking for Haiti’s disaster recovery and for the expansion of Haitian studies in the U.S. and Haiti … and is also a resource for media outlets seeking to gain knowledge of Haiti.”

Laurent Dubois on “Left of Black”

Mark Anthony Neal (African and African-American Studies, Duke) recently hosted Laurent Dubois on his popular web series Left of Black. The occasion is the recent publication of Dubois’s latest book, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History. Among other things, Dubois talked about the rich – and ambivalent – history of African American-Haitian cultural and political connections, from Frederick Douglass’s ambassadorship onward. The Haiti Lab was also on the agenda!”

Office Hours with Deborah Jenson on ‘Recovering Haiti’

In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti Deborah Jenson was interviewed as part of one of Duke University’s regular online features: Office Hours.

Click here to view a rich variety of other great resources produced through Haitilab – including, essays, additional videos and related media coverage.

Both co-directors have recently published new books to find out more click the links below:

Laurent Dubois, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

Deborah Jenson, Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution

Open Arts Archive Publish Video and Audio Online

New audio and video files on a wide variety of themes have been added to the Open Arts Archive recently to join with an established archive of resources. These include:

Contemporary Art: World Currents – Panel Discussion

“This panel discussion, in collaboration with the Open University, explores Terry Smith’s book Contemporary Art: World Currents (Laurence King, 2011).

It was part of a launch for the book given by Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

Speakers include: art historians Terry Smith, Anthony Downey and Leon Wainwright, and Tessa Jackson, OBE, Director of the Institute for International Visual Arts (inIVA).”

Leon Wainwright offering some thoughts on ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’

“This recording was made on the occasion of the exhibition Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire, at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, from 15 January to 11 April, 2010, and played on an audio loop for visitors alongside the display. Aubrey Williams: Atlantic Fire was curated by Reyahn King (Director of Art Galleries, National Museums Liverpool) and Leon Wainwright (Dept. of Art History, The Open University). It was the first nationally-funded, major retrospective exhibition of the Guyana-born painter (1926-1990). In the recording Leon Wainwright offers some thoughts on a painting by Aubrey Williams, his ‘Hymn to the Sun IV’ of 1984, one of the artist’s Olmec-Maya series (oil on canvas, 119 x 178 cm).”

Click here to read Leon Wainwright’s 2010 catalogue contribution for this exhibition, Aubrey Williams: Atlantic fire.

Rashid Rana and David Elliot in Conversation

“On Saturday 1st October 2011, as part of ‘Rashid Rana: Everything Is Happening At Once’ exhibition at The Cornerhouse, Manchester artist Rashid Rana was joined in conversation with David Elliott, a freelance international curator based in Hong Kong and Berlin.

A small audience heard a presentation by the artist of his practice. The event was presented as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011 with the support of the Lisson Gallery.”

Jack White and the Blues

This week’s video feature begins with Jack White’s mention of Cab Calloway and improvisational performance of St. James’ Infirmary Blues on BBC2’s Later with Jools Holland:

Before doing his northern Detroit version of St. James’ Infirmary Blues, White mentions that he first heard it performed by Cab Calloway as part of a Betty Boop cartoon. This great version of the song along with the original cartoon is also available online and posted below. Calloway’s performance comes about 4 minutes 20 into the cartoon and it’s not only Calloway’s voice you can hear but also his dance moves you can see too, as performed by Koko the clown. Calloway’s performance was in fact recorded and then transferred into the animation using the rotoscoping method so that frame-by-frame Koko would mimic Calloway’s unique moves. This method was also used to transfer Calloway’s move onto the screen in the Betty Boop cartoon Minnie the Moocher that we used as our first video of the week post.

Of course White has always been influenced by earlier blues artists and this continues on his first solo album, Blunderbuss, which was released last week.  Track 8 – I’m Shakin’ – features a great guitar riff and sees White covering “The Prince of the Blues” Little Willie John.

Earlier in his career as one part of the duo The White Stripes live performances often included covers of various Delta Blues artists including: Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson and as shown here below the fierce voice and guitar bashing sounds of Son House.

The First Black Britons DVD

Thanks to Tony T for passing on the information about this resource:

“The First Black Britons” is a DVD resource on the West India Regiment (made for BBC TV in 2005)

A link to the trailer is posted below (and is available to view on Vimeo.com via: http://vimeo.com/37661768)

‘The First Black Britons’ can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk or from our
distributor’s website www.beckmanndirect.com.

“Originally broadcast on BBC Television, “The First Black Britons” presents a
wealth of information and historical discovery, delivered (to-camera) in a
warm and ‘to-the-point’ style. Our film reveals the incredible hidden
history of thousands of African men (11,000 by the year 1800), lifted from
slavery to lead a journey to citizenship in the New World – as equals of
white comrades in arms. They fought in the Napoleonic Wars as the West
India Regiment (1795-1927).

“One of Britain’s leading TV comedy actors, Gary Beadle presents our story
as a journey of discovery in Barbados, Jamaica, Liverpool, London and
Windsor. Illustrated by a wealth of photographs and pictures, this dramatic
and compelling story is ‘brought to life’ by actors in scenes based on the
actual quotes of Prime Minister William Pitt (the younger), his friend,
William Wilberforce, Queen Victoria, and, the very soldiers who shaped
attitudes to race and identity at each turn of the infamous triangular
Slave Trade – involving Britain, West Africa and the Americas.

“The viewer discovers tourist attractions, social and political history,
culture and heritage. 59-minutes are divided into 3 x 18-minute stories,
structured as follows:

Story 1. ‘Slaves in Redcoats':
How the government of abolitionist Prime Minister, William Pitt (the
younger) secretly purchased a slave-army to defeat French and Napoleonic
forces in the Americas.

Story 2. ‘The Queen’s Gentlemen':
How Britain’s first African army won the personal favour of Queen
Victoria, and carved a unique status as a new class of citizen – ‘Black
British’.

Story 3. ‘The Prodigals’ Return':
How West India Regiment soldiers – ‘the sons of slaves’ – exacted bloody
revenge on the ‘Chiefdoms’ that sold them into captivity, returning to the
infamous slave forts of West Africa to win 2 Victoria Cross medals, in a
‘Action Adventure’ of imperial conquest.

For further details of the programme do please have a look at our website:
www.sweetpatootee.co.uk
Tony T and Rebecca Goldstone
Sweet Patootee Ltd”

Arcade Fire in Haiti and Kanaval in Jacmel

The stimulus for this week’s video feature was a montage of clips made into a short video by the world-renowned band Arcade Fire from a couple of trips they made to Haiti.

These clips were filmed during a number of trips Arcade Fire made to Haiti in March 2011 and February 2012 and played to one of the best tracks – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – from their latest album The Suburbs. There are some great shots of the mountainous landscape that gave Haiti its name but also a lot of great clips showing Haitian carnival masks and costumes being used in performance in the Southern Haitian town of Jacmel.

These clips reminded me of the arresting images of Haitian carnival revealers by photographer Leah Gordon in the book Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution of the Streets of Haiti published in 2010. These extraordinarily potent images are surrounded by a number of compelling essays by scholars working in a variety of disciplines and an array of oral testimonies from contemporary carnival participants who discuss: their costume, their performance, and its meaning for them.

More images of Kanaval – with some short descriptions of stock characters – can be seen on Leah Gordon’s homepage. The Guardian also posted a review of the publication in 2010 that provoked a heated online debate with some though-provoking comments. This is still available to view online, click here to see it in full.

Showing the vast preparations for this annual event is another film created by Haitian youth working with Ciné Institute who are based in Jacmel. They began by creating Film Festival Jakmèl which screened international films to thousands of Haitians annually. This event was held for three years before Ciné Institute expanded to provide film education and edutainment, technical training, and media related micro enterprise opportunities to local youth.

This film is an assembly of stories filmed by Ciné Lekol students during the 2009 Jacmel Carnival under the instruction of Jonathan Stack in a workshop on Documentary Production and posted on Vimeo. This video follows a few individuals and groups who take part in carnival every year in the run up to the 2009 event. Its features a brilliant set of short interviews with participants who explain how they prepare for carnival each year revealing a mix of motivations behind carnival performance. Even such esteemed politicians as René Preval and Abraham Lincoln makes appearances among more familiar carnival characters like Charles Oscar and the lansekod.  Click here to find out more about Ciné Institute – whose latest film Stones in the Sun had its world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend.