Close Up

7 - 15 November 2018: Never Found: Alternate Histories of the 20th Century


Francesco Maria Carreri presents a four-part programme of films that use found footage to retell the history of the 20th century. From the burning of the Hindenburg to the Zapruder film, the stories we tell ourselves about our history are intrinsically linked to the medium of the moving image. The collage films selected for the season reappropriate and remix existing footage to propose different narratives from the established ones. The horrors of colonialism in Angela Ricchi Lucchi's and Yervant Gianikian's From the Pole to the Equator or the miracle of space flight in Artavazd Peleshian's Our Century, much of the human experience of the past century is covered in the six films presented in the programme. Put together the films seem to provide an alternative history, a history where images have hidden meanings and many, often contradicting, narratives can co-exist.

Programme 1: Our century

Working from opposite sides of the iron curtain the American Ken Jacobs and the Armenian Artavazd Peleshian achieve radically different results through the use of found footage. Whereas Peleshian provides a passionate paean to Human achievement by heavily editing and re-working half a century's worth of images, Jacobs presents a sombre portrayal of a dark time in American History by leaving the original footage untouched. Together, they provide the viewer with a sense of how history is witnessed and mythologized by the medium of film. read more

Perfect Film, Ken Jacobs, 1986, 22 min, B/W, 16mm
Our Century, Artavazd Peleshyan, 1983, 47 min, B/W, Digital

Programme 2: From the Pole to the Equator

In their first film to gain international acclaim International acclaim Italian avant-garde filmmakers Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian re-edit footage shot in the 1910s by Luca Comerio, the official documentarian to the Italian Royal Family. Altering Comerio's footage of Africa, the South Pole and World War I, Ricci Lucchi and Gianikian tease out the ideology written upon and between every image: In Gianikian's words “the violence of colonialism as it plays itself out in different situations and spheres.” read more

From the Pole to the Equator, Angela Ricci Lucchi & Yervant Gianikian, 1987, 97min, Colour, 16mm

Programme 3: Images of the World

In Farocki's film and in Introduction to the End of an Argument, images take centre stage. Whether they are coming from an Elvis musical set in the Middle East or from American reconnaissance aircrafts flying over Germany, the images the filmmakers analyze are revealed as powerful agents carrying deep and often violent historical consequences. Farocki's crisp cinematography contrasts Suleiman's and Salloum's noisy video collage with both films adopting radically different approaches to provide equally provocative and urgent arguments on the nature of images. read more

Images of the World and the Inscription of War, Harun Farocki, 1989, 75 min, Colour, Digital
Introduction to the end of an Argument, Elia Suleiman & Jayce Salloum, 1990, 45 min, Colour, Digital

Programme 4: Spectres of the Spectrum

Combining old “kinescopes” with 16mm footage shot by Baldwin, Spectres of the Spectrum follows a young telepath, BooBoo, as she travels back in time from the desolate future of 2007 to save the world from a threatening electromagnetic "pulse". Through an increasingly abstract montage of live-action, archival film, and broadcast video, the fantasy narrative warps into disjointed, abstracted, audio-visual phrases, suggesting the breakdown of personal ego/memory, historical representation, and even space-time itself. read more

Spectres of the Spectrum, Craig Baldwin, 2000, 94 min, Colour & B/W, Digital