In response to McEvoy Arts’ temporary closure through December 21, 2020, New Labor Movements I and II have been extended for online viewing through December 24.
In partnership with the Roxie Theater, McEvoy Arts and curator Leila Weefur present a special online screening of selections from New Labor Movements, Movement I. Assembly and Movement II. Resistance/Selfhood. Films by Christopher Harris, Lonnie Holley and Cyrus Moussavi, Onyeka Igwe, Mitch McCabe, Morgan Quaintance, Eden Tinto Collins and Adrien Gystere Peskine explore diasporic history, collective experience, and the trans-Atlantic distribution of labor, power, and people. From the Black transcendence of I Snuck Off the Slave Ship (2019) to the quasi-apocalyptic premonitions of Civil War Surveillance Poems (Part 1) (2019), these works by emerging and established filmmakers celebrate genre-breaking approaches to film construction and narrative and offer thoughtful articulations of movement that reveal the nuance of global political critique and a profound broadness of Black life across borders.
ABOUT THE FILMS
Total Running Time: 78 minutes
All film descriptions written by Curator, Leila Weefur
Civil War Surveillance Poems (Part 1), 2019
Digital video, color, sound, 14:57 min.
The first installment of a five-part project, Civil War Surveillance Poems is an assemblage of voices and perspectives scattered across the American landscape. With a sincerely hybrid approach, Mitch McCabe stitches together over 20 years of archival vérité footage with audio clips from radio, all seen and heard during cross-country road trips. The colorful spatterings of American accents, from Christian radio to sex worker narratives, come together to contemplate the coming of a second Civil War.
16mm transferred to digital, color, sound, 4 min.
The hand-cranking of a Bolex camera and the honeyed vibrato of Zora Neal Hurston are the dancers in this archival choreography of collected and repurposed cinematic materials. Hurston’s retelling of her anthropological practice is channeled through a well-practiced lip-synching performer, delivering folk songs over a flickering video loop of Maasai tribesmen and an assortment of women. Christopher Harris briefly casts the viewer deep into a moment of historical hybridity.
Specialised Technique, 2018
HD video, black-and-white, sound, 6:57 min.
“Pulse, pulse, pulse…” A voice, a drum, a cadence of contrast is used by Onyeka Igwe to conjure the “livingness” present in the archival documentation of Black dance. Consecutive questions that appear as mere title cards, words adorning the edges of a body, or as an independent character in the frame are all self-reflexive exchanges between the director, the subjects, and the audience. “Do you not want me to see your face?” is a question steeped in self-awareness and the issue of the spectacle ever-present in colonial cinema.
Lonnie Holley, Cyrus Moussavi
I Snuck Off the Slave Ship, 2019 Digital video, color, sound, 18:44 min.
I Snuck Off the Slave Ship is an invitation to become an accompanying passenger on this time-defying journey of rebellion in the name of healing. An African American multimedia artist traverses land, artistic format, and dimension in order to escape the slave ship that is America.
16mm transferred to digital, black-and-white, color, sound, 28 min.
South collapses the realities of South London and Chicago’s South Side—two places separated by thousands of miles of land and sea. Through the kinetic potency of individual and collective voice combined with Black and White portraits of people and place, Quaintance reveals the parallels of the liberation movements in defiance of geography. Quaintance’s personal biography—he was born in London and is a frequent visitor to Chicago—necessitates a closeness to his subjects that enables audiences to contend with the root concerns of humanity and mortality.
Eden Tinto Collins, Adrien Gystere Peskine
Digital video, color, sound, 5:25 min.
Existing somewhere on Earth, Jane Dark is a seemingly normal person who, when called upon, transforms into the Super Shero WOMXN to protect the community from the villainous police. Directors Eden Tinto Collins and Adrien Gystere Peskine remind us of the supernatural superhero qualities of Black womxn and their community allies in this tale of vigilance.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Leila Weefur (She/They/He) is a trans-gender-nonconforming artist, writer, and curator whose work in video and installation brings together concepts of the sensorial memory, abject Blackness, hyper surveillance, and the erotic. Weefur has worked with local and national institutions including the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Smack Mellon, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and The Wattis Institute, San Francisco. Weefur is a recipient of the Hung Liu award, the Murphy & Cadogan award, and the Walter & Elise Haas Creative Work Fund. They are a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of The Black Aesthetic. Weefur received their MFA from Mills College and is based in Oakland, CA.
The Roxie Theater, a San Francisco landmark in the Mission District, brings people together to meet and connect through distinctive cinematic experiences. Guided by the passionate belief that engaging with a movie doesn’t end with the credits, we invite filmmakers, curators, entertainers, and educators to interact with our audiences. We provide inspiration and opportunity for the next generation and serve as a forum for the independent film community reflecting the spirit of the diverse Bay Area population.
New Labor Movements is inspired by the West Coast debut of Isaac Julien’s immersive film installation Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass (2019). Movements III and IV premiere at McEvoy Arts in 2021.