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13 January 2023: Strange Objects: Reflections on British Colonial Legacies Programme 1


Amidst the debate sparked by calls for the return of historical artefacts to the countries from which they were plundered, we present a two-part programme of films by Miranda Pennell that use archive photographs as a starting point for a reflection on British colonial legacies.

Programme 1
With Miranda Pennell and artist and writer Kamila Kuc in conversation.

The Host  
Miranda Pennell, 2015, 60 min

A filmmaker turns forensic detective as she pieces together hundreds of photographs in search of what she believes to be a buried history, only to find herself inside the story she is researching. The Host investigates the activities of British Petroleum (BP) in Iran; a tale of power, imperial hubris and catastrophe. While the tectonic plates of geopolitical conspiracy shift in the background, the film asks us to look, and look again, at images produced by the oil company and personal photos taken by its British staff in Iran – including the filmmaker’s parents – not for what they show, but for what they betray. The Host is about the stories we tell about ourselves and others, the facts and fictions we live by – and their consequences.

“This sober, respectful and devastating work is one of the year’s highlights, a quiet and insistent probe into the act of making and marking territory, of the way identity is constructed in serial acts of necessary blindness” – Mike Hoolboom