New Cinema Shorts \\ Tendai John Mutambu: RIOT
RIOT curated by Tendai John Mutambu.
Riot / John Akomfrah / 1999 / 50 min
Curated by Tendai John Mutambu, we are pleased to be hosting a rare week-long screening of John Akomfrah’s Riot, detailing what happened in Toxteth, Liverpool in the 1980s during one of the largest civil disturbances in mainland British history. Over three nights in July 1981, the authorities lost control of Liverpool following widespread retaliation to the racism escalated by stop-and-search policing tactics (the “sus” laws). The ensuing riots resulted in millions of pounds’ worth of damage, hundreds injured, and the near collapse of a government. Through interviews, Akomfrah tells the story of a major turning point in Thatcher’s recessionary Britain, just three months after the Brixton riots in London. This screening marks the fortieth anniversary of the Toxteth riots.
After the online broadcast ‘Riot’ will be accompanied by Aura Satz’s 16mm film Preemptive Listening (part 1: The Fork in the Road) which takes and productively reworks the siren, reorienting it towards new sonic, affective, and political possibilities. Satz, in collaboration with actor and activist Khalid Abdalla and trumpet improviser Mazen Kerbaj, stages a vocal and musical re-wiring of the siren’s role as an emblem of resistance, oppression, and lost futures during the Arab Spring, to suggest how we might channel the din of worlds past into the sound of futures yet to be imagined.
Preemptive Listening (Part 1: The Fork in the Road) / Aura Satz / 2018 / 9 min
Preemptive Listening (Part 1: The Fork in the Road) is part 1 of a larger research project on sonic obedience and disobedience through the trope of the siren. It posits the siren’s loud glissando wail as a conditioned and learned signal, one that can potentially be perceptually and musically rewired. For this first chapter of the project, Lebanese trumpet improviser Mazen Kerbaj has composed a new siren sound using circular breathing, alongside the actor and activist Khalid Abdalla’s account of the siren as the emblematic sound of resistance, oppression, and lost futures during the Arab Spring. Shot on 16mm, the film is literally driven by its soundtrack, as the voice becomes a beacon, activating emergency rotating lights.
For New Cinema Shorts, AND Festival 2021’s weekly programme of short form cinema, we have invited curators to each select week-long waves of moving images that ripple and reflect across the festival’s virtual, real and post-digital landscapes. Each wave of the shorts programme was broadcast via AND’s new Live Channel every Friday from 4 June and was available for the following week.
Riot was screened on Friday 25 June over at andfestival.org.uk/live and was available to watch until Friday 2 July.