This program of short films explores the dynamic ways in which three contemporary filmmakers have responded to historical representations of blackness on film by channeling archival aesthetics and more contemporary understandings of nuance.
Playful yet powerful, Akosua Adoma Owusu’s Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful (2012) focuses on African American women’s hair, spinning found footage of 1970s New York hair salons and hairstyles into a dense collage of gesture, image, and contemporary resonance. Ephraim Asili’s Many Thousands Gone (2015) presents a complex, poetic travelogue exploring the long history of slavery, and the intersection of memory and place, skillfully guiding the viewer through a summer afternoon on the streets of Harlem, New York, and Salvador, Brazil. Lauren Kelley’s sardonic stop-motion animations Burlap Interior (2013) and FrouFrou Conclusions (2011) employ a diverse range of materials, including Barbie-like characters, to explore the surreal manifestations of feminist and critical race theory in daily life—from snatches of conversations in the front seat of an automobile to the aisles of a grocery store.
Following the screening, the filmmakers will join in a conversation with co-organizers Rachell Morillo and Henry Murphy of The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Public Programs and Community Engagement Department.
Since its founding in 1968, The Studio Museum in Harlem has supported artists of the African diaspora and has been the site of critical dialogues around notions of blackness and contemporaneity.
Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful. 2012. USA. Directed by Akosua Adoma Owusu. 5 min.
Many Thousands Gone. 2015. USA. Directed by Ephraim Asili. 8 min.
FrouFrou Conclusions. 2011. USA. Directed by Lauren Kelley. 2 min.
Burlap Interior. 2013. USA. Directed by Lauren Kelley. 3 min.