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Black Political Making (Online Talk)

GEM Lab Events

APR 8, 2021

Thursday April 9th, 2021

Esery Mondesir & Nataleah Hunter-Young, moderated by May Chew (Concordia.)


Introduction to Series and Speakers

May Chew

Initial comments before Screening

Nataleah Hunter-Young
Esery Mondesir

Excerpts from Screening

“Sammy”, Esery Mondesir, 2016
“What Happens To A Dream Deferred”, Esery Mondesir, 2020
“Oversight: A Work In Progress”, Nataleah Hunter-Young, 2017

Q&A Period Introduction
May Chew

Initial discussion between the guest speakers
Topics: The ways that opacity appears in your work and how that related to care. How it appears in relation to darkness in multiple ways as a motif. How Esery Mondesir cultivates his relationship with subjects, harboring and radical empathy. Nataleah Hunter-Young’s work in relation Christina Sharp’s concepts about black annotation and redaction and so also thinking through how opacity figures into your work.

Multiplicity and commitment to “the many” as a natural factor of the world. Openness not in terms of interpretation, but in the sense of welcoming. The representational aspect of blackness in the foundations of the North American society. The brutal aesthetic generated by the European conquering of North America and the west and the aesthetic of suffering. Being who you are, finding care in the process of representation and the making process. Taking representation into your own hands.

Clip from: “Una Sola Sangre”, Esery Mondesir, 2018

Q&A 1
Topics: Tangible connections between the methods of hand processing and silk screen, tactile and demanding analog processes in relation to the digital. As a reaction to social media and constant dissemination.

Process for Sammy, finding a new way to look at these images and the “spectacle” of the imagery online through 16mm film, hand processing and re-digitization. Taking the time as a ritual and a method of internal processing. Use of GIFs in the context of this kind of work, the aspect of “repetition”. The movement to still mediums as a method of slowing down and contemplation. Seeking ways to disseminate that aren’t as damaging as the source material. Working through adaptation to the gallery setting. Etc.

Q&A 2
Topics: Politicized Geographies, how does an audience form around “What Happens to a Dream Deferred” including in the geographies of where it was shot? The difference in the transition from a gallery space to the geographies in which it was made.

Interest in feedback from the people where it was made, during a screening towards the final steps of the editing process for “Una Sola Sangre” and responsiveness to concerns. The desire for more community screenings.

Q&A 3
Topics: The slowing down process, the tension between dwelling and repetition. Taking time with an individual image but also repeating it in the sense of silk screening. How care and empathy interface with dwelling and repetition.

Christina Sharp’s concept of “wakework”. Process work as un-redacting the image. The invisibility of racial discourse in Canada, due to proximity to the US, the extra difficulty and opacity of police incidents as a result. Annotating what isn’t seen in the work and redacting what is over represented.

Topics: Further discussion on the global conception of Canada not being connected or being in some way better on racial issues due to our proximity to the US. “Not as many black people die here, so therefore it must be better” fallacy. How to discuss the situation in Canada abroad and the portrayal of Canada as a safe haven when black, queer, trans folks still experience harm from the state.

Q&A 4
Topics: The editing process and the concept of care. How do you mobilize the concept of care across the process of filmmaking, from the start and throughout?

The story of the start of “What Happens To A Dream Deferred”. The editing process of “Una Sola Sangre”. The concept of what you don’t need to show, going against convention to counter damaging narratives.

Q&A 5
Topics: How did you approach your subjects and how aware are they of the camera / of the filmmaking process?

Being clear with your intentions, not just developing relationships in order to get your film made. Being involved in the action of the scene as well as shooting, the benefits of solo / small crew filmmaking. Long takes with motion, being engaged in the space, and in the moment rather than just being in it for the shot.

Further Projects for Esery Mondesir

Work with Rassoul Labuchin, pioneering Haitian filmmaker.

Further Projects for Nataleah Young
Consulting producer on upcoming Criterion Collection release of “Pariah” (2011) directed by Dee Rees, work with TIFF.



Link to original event post.

A screening and conversation between filmmaker Esery Mondesir and writer/curator Nataleah Hunter-Young on Black aesthetics, praxis, and resistance. Drawing on their own practice, Mondesir and Hunter-Young will also discuss the ways that creative processes can function as and through an ethic of radical care across the Black Atlantic.

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