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Thought and Image

  • Birkbeck Cinema 43 Gordon Square (map)

Miranda Pennell’s moving image work repurposes still and moving images from personal and official archives in order to explore the relationship of past and present, personal memory and official histories, particularly in relation to colonial legacies. She will discuss the methodological questions raised by her exploration of BP’s image archive for The Host (2015), as well as the challenges presented by her current research for Report from the End of the World (working title). In particular she will think about the role of montage and the dialectic of sound and image as way of activating images from troubled pasts.

Miranda Pennell’s moving-image work uses archival materials as the starting point for a reflection on the colonial imaginary. Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (2010) examines British image-making in the Afghan borderlands at the turn of the 20th century. It was awarded best international film at the 2011 Images Festival,Toronto, and  Courtisane Festival of Film & Media Art, Ghent. Pennell’s feature-length film The Host (2015) reworks material drawn from the archive of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP) toured selected UK arthouse cinemas in 2016, and was awarded the 2017 Punto de Vista Award for Best Film at the International Documentary Film Festival of Navarra (Spain).  

Selected screenings or exhibition include ‘Miranda Pennell: choreographies and archives‘ at Filmmuseum Munich (2017), ‘Co-op Dialogues 1976-2016: Lis Rhodes & Miranda Pennell’ and  ‘Assembly: survey of recent artists’ film and video in Britain 2008–2013‘at Tate Britain (2016 and 2015 respectively), ‘Autobiography and the Archive‘ at the Zhika auditorium at Whitechapel Gallery (2015), ‘Colonial Spectres‘ Museum of Modern Art Vienna (2012), and group exhibitions ‘All Systems Go’, Cooper Gallery, Dundee, ‘The World Turned Upside Down‘ at Mead Gallery (2013) and ‘Europe – The Future of History‘ at Kunsthaus Zurich (2015). One-person programs of her work include those at Close-Up Cinema, London (2016), Glasgow Short Film Festival (2011), Oberhausen Short Film Festival (2006), Vienna International Shorts (2011), Tampere Short Film Festival (2009).

Next session: Friday 25 May, details to follow shortly