Frieze: Blackness and Post-Cinema: John Akomfrah and the Otolith Group in Conversation

Posted On: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 | by project88pressadmin

By John akomfrah and The Otolith Group

During the turbulent summer of 2020, the filmmakers met to discuss contemporary filmmaking and decentring the human

John Akomfrah: The post-cinematic does not involve a rejection of cinema – it’s steeped in insights and knowledges and affinities with the cinematic tradition – but it clearly wants what Althusserians would call an ‘epistemological break’ with its practices.

Anjalika Sagar: I think of the post-cinematic in terms of evocation rather than explanation and effects more than causes. Post-cinematic affect allows a more complex relationship to multiple non-narratives that contribute to not-yet-articulated structures of feeling.

Kodwo Eshun: For me, it’s not only a question of screens or phones or apps. What’s useful about the term post-cinematic is its agnosticism towards narrative. It’s a way of stepping away from narrative. In the UK, cinema carries with it this imperative to narrate the nation. There is an unspoken expectation, whenever a Black British film is released, that it will tell the untold story of Black Britain. To me, the post-cinematic side-steps this cruel optimism of cinema. [Laughs] It implies an unspoken promise to open up an imaginative dimension of post-cinematic Blackness.

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