Culture of memory, Decolonisation, Reappraisal of the colonial past
The project “(De)colonial Film Archives” advocates for the opening of film archives that hold material from colonial contexts. For this purpose, an interactive map has been developed which provides locations with geodata, information about the archives, pictures and contact details on the internet. The majority of these are European archives, which today store film material that was produced in colonial contexts.
Film documents in the aesthetics of self-glorifying depictions of the colonialists and degrading images of the people colonized by them: This legacy of colonialism is much less present than the collections of museums, whose reappraisal of the colonial past in many European countries focuses on the handling of ethnological artefacts and on the question of restitution of the looted objects.
To whom do these film materials from colonial contexts belong? How and to whom should they be made accessible? What consequences do the structures, secrecy or opening of such archives have for our collective and national memory? The Goethe-Institut Portugal organised a series of events on these questions in Lisbon in September 2019, consisting of panel discussions, workshops and accompanying film sessions as part of the international project Everything passes except the past.
15 film and archives experts, activists and artists from Egypt, Angola, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Guinea Bissau, Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria and Portugal came together to discuss the strategies of film archives. They also discussed the often precarious situation of film archives in the former colonized countries and new ways of developing so-called "counter-archives".
A particular focus of the project is the artistic-discursive examination of colonial archive material as a testimony to a past that remains present in the photo archives of the regions, or rather the film material that was produced from the perspective of the liberation movements. This has resulted in several concrete projects, some of which are still being implemented, including films, the interactive map showing the local location of such material, and a call to action for the opening of film archives.