Christopher Harris’ award-winning experimental films include a long take look at a post-industrial urban landscape, an optically printed and hand-processed film about black outlaws, a pinhole film about the cosmic consequences of the sun’s collapse, a macro lens close up of a child’s nightlight and a double projection film about a theme park performance of Christ’s Passion. Harris recently completed two multi-screen HD video installations that reenact and reimagine the slave daguerreotypes commissioned by Louis Agassiz in 1850. He was awarded a 2015 Creative Capital grant in support of his upcoming film Speaking in Tongues. His work has screened at festivals, museums and cinematheques throughout North America and Europe including the 2014 Artists’ Film Biennial at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2005, 2008, 2010), the VIENNALE-Vienna International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Leeds International Film Festival (2007, 2009), the San Francisco Cinematheque and Rencontres Internationales Paris among many others. Cosmologies of Black Cultural Production: A Conversation with Afrosurrealist Filmmaker Christopher Harris was published in the summer 2016 issue of Film Quarterly.
2016, 3 minutes, 16mm-to-HD, color, sound
A sunny afternoon on a tour boat in Chicago is haunted by the specter of other voyages.
2016, 4 minutes, 16mm-to-HD, color, sound
A performer lip-synchs to archival audio featuring the voice of author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston as she describes her method of documenting African American folk songs in Florida. By design, nothing in this film is authentic except the source audio. The flickering images were produced with a hand-cranked Bolex so that the lip-synch is deliberately erratic and the rear projected, grainy, looped images of Masai tribesmen and women recycled from an educational film become increasingly abstract as the audio transforms into an incantation.
A Willing Suspension of Disbelief + Photography and Fetish, 2014, 17 minutes, three-screen 16mm-to-HD installation + split screen 16mm to HD installation)
“A three-channel video installation and a split-screen video installation in response to an 1850 daguerreotype of a young American-born enslaved woman named Delia, who was photographed stripped bare as visual evidence in support of an ethnographic study by the Swiss-born naturalist professor Louis Agassiz, who held that racial characteristics are a result of differing human origins.” (Orlando Museum of Art)
28.IV.81 (Descending Figures)
2011, 3 minutes, 16mm double projection, color, silent
“Footage Harris shot at a performance of Christ’s Passion, staged as an attraction at a Florida amusement park. Harris’ use of the pure filmic light continually disrupts these faux-holy scenarios from coming into being. This flimsy display of devotion is shown up by something genuinely overpowering, or at least recognizably real.” (Michael Sicinski, CinemaScope)
28.IV.81 (Bedouin Spark)
2009, 3 minutes, 16mm, color, silent
“A lovely miniature edited in-camera, in which Harris manipulates light around a child’s mobile so that a hanging nightlight with plastic silver stars becomes a glinting ersatz sky.” (Michael Sicinski, CinemaScope)
Sunshine State (Extended Forecast)
2007, 8 minutes, 16mm, color, sound (pinhole film)
“Somewhere in a quiet outer suburb of the Milky Way galaxy, we live our lives in the pleasant warmth of our middle-of-the-road star, the Sun. Slowly but surely we will reach the point when there will be one last perfect sunny day. The sun will swell up, scorch the earth and finally consume it.” (International Film Festival Rotterdam)
2004, 14 minutes, 16mm, black and white, sound
“Eyeballing’s dominant motif is the image of Pam Grier from her Blaxploitation apex, with an unusual exchange of gazes—hers out at us, and the men in surrounding footage back at her. Harris is quite explicitly exploring the racial dimensions that Laura Mulvey left implicit (to put it kindly) within the Male Gaze question, sending Foxy Brown into the cinematic apparatus as a kind of test case.” (Michael Sicinski, CinemaScope)
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