Family Films. Colonial Anamnesis.

1. Family Films. Colonial Anamnesis.

  • type: Article
  • ref: DOC.2021.243

The project of the Greyzone Zebra collective founded in 2016 is composed of artists and researchers working on contemporary forms of transmission and rewriting of colonial histories in support of private films made between the end of the 19th century and the first hours of independence.  
The artistic practices developed around and from these family archives make it possible to engage in a collective reflection on the processes of memory and oblivion that crystallize and generate today these images shot mainly in 8/Super8 and 16mm. The interest of this little-known film production lies in the diversity and spontaneity of its gestures and in the places given to them within the different heir families of this history.
This project, led by the School of Graphic Research (ERG) is developed in partnership with schools and art centres as well as universities in Belgium, France, Congo DRC, Benin and Senegal.
It is structured around the three axes, namely the performative screenings, during which the audience is invited to take notes during the screening of the films and then, a few moments later, by recalling the projected images.  These notes crystallize our different perceptions of images and constitute as such a singular material with which to engage in a collective reflection on our forms of contemporary rewriting of the colonial past. The second axis, designed in the form of research workshops, aims to deepen the analysis of the materials collected, the gestures involved and the stories created by the devices. Artists and researchers are invited to participate in these moments of collective work and to share their thoughts in a longer time frame. Finally, the open digital archive is engaged in a reflection on the archiving of images shot in a colonial context, their classification and accessibility. Derrida points out that the archive is both the "beginning" and the "command". It is the inscription of a past event and bears the imprint of an ethical, political and epistemological choice. If family films shot in a colonial context cannot be considered as a colonial counter-archive, the gestures, looks and voices that these images evoke today make it possible to engage in a reflection as urgent as necessary on this past and its current resonances.