Lisson Gallery

An Infinity of Traces | Screenings | Ufuoma Essi

An Infinity of Traces | Screenings | Ufuoma Essi
All That You Can’t Leave Behind

All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2019) is an experimental, appropriated video archive film that explores the relationship between black women’s collective experience with music, history and the act of reclamation.

Statement by Essi: 

My work explores intersectional themes of race, gender, class and sexuality. Archives form an essential source, as I seek to interrogate and disrupt the silences and gaps within historical narratives. I locate power through the image and the ways in which we can reposition the image of the Black woman, and re-centre the marginalised histories of the Black Atlantic.

Extract from Q&A with Priyesh Mistry from Bloomberg New Contemporaries: 

Priyesh Mistry: John Akomfrah and Arthur Jafa have used the term 'affective proximity' to describe the form of montage in film to evoke/remind viewers of the experiences they thought they may have already known or felt but had never been able to fully articulate. Where do you find the footage that you use and what did the experience of editing, splicing, overlapping this footage mean to you in the process of making these two films, particularly in reference to the idea of fighting for and claiming denied freedoms? 

Ufuoma Essi: I think 'affective proximity' is a good way of defining aspects of my work and my two films. Although my work is not necessarily defined by the notion of fighting for denied freedoms, it is more of a repositioning and redefining the image for oneself. The act of reclaiming images is central to my work and locating power through the image, as images often act as sites of surrogation to larger themes. I spent a lot of time researching online archives but the archive reveals as much as it suppresses and that was the conceptual point I was working around; looking at how our understanding of history is told through archives that displace certain histories as peripheral and centres others.

Read an original script for Ufuoma Essi's work in the exhibition, Bodies in Dissent, 2020

Caption: Ufuoma Essi, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2019. Moving image, 14 min. 25 sec.
 

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