Counter-Archives – Non-Aligned Archives, Cinenova, London Community Video Archive & Sam the Wheels
An afternoon of conversations with and presentations by alternative and independent archival initiatives in the context of the Counter-Archives series. With Annabelle Aventurin & Léa Morin (Non-Aligned Archives), Charlotte Procter, Moira Salt & Louise Shelley (Cinenova), Ed Webb-Ingall (London Community Video Archive) and Lucy Davies & Clovis Salmon (198 Contemporary Arts and the Sam the Wheels project). Chaired by Matthew Barrington.
About the participants
Matthew Barrington is a researcher and curator based in London. He runs the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, is a programmer for the Essay Film Festival and a curator of cinema at the Barbican Centre.
Through screenings, interventions and meetings, Annabelle Aventurin and Léa Morin try to consider possible tools, methodologies, alliances and actions for a movement of non-aligned film archives.
With international allies (venues, filmmakers, platforms) they share a reflection and actions in favour of the preservation and circulation of a cinema in struggle against authoritarian narratives and models (colonial, state, capitalist, patriarchal, etc.), a cinema that struggles (or has struggled) to exist, and still struggles not to be pushed to the margins of the dominant histories
Annabelle Aventurin is a film archivist and responsible for the conservation and distribution of Med Hondo’s archives at Ciné-Archives, French Communist Party and workers’ movement film collection based in Paris. In 2021 she coordinated, with the Harvard Film Archive, the restoration of Hondo’s films West Indies (1979), and Sarraounia (1986). She is also a film programmer. In 2022, she completed her first documentary film, Le Roi n’est pas mon cousin (30 min, France/Guadeloupe) which has been screened at the Cinéma du Réel (Paris), Third Horizon Film Festival (Miami), and other coming festivals.
Léa Morin is an independent curator and researcher. She is engaged in projects of editing, exhibition, film programming and restoration that bring together researchers, artists and practitioners. She conceived the shared archive website CINIMA3 Lodz-Casablanca www.cinima3.com and is currently preparing a book on the film “About some meaningless events” by Mostafa Derkaoui (Zamân Books, 2022). She is also part of the team “Archive Bouanani, a history of cinema in Morocco” in Rabat, and “Talitha” devoted to alternative and experimental cinematic and sound archives, preservation, and redistribution in Rennes.
Cinenova is a volunteer-run charity preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers. Cinenova was founded in 1991 following the merger of two feminist film and video distributors, Circles and Cinema of Women, each formed in 1979. Cinenova currently distributes over 300 titles that include artists’ moving image, experimental film, narrative feature films, documentary and educational videos made from the 1910’s to the early 2000’s. The thematics in these titles include oppositional histories, post and de-colonial struggles, representation of gender, race, sexuality, and other questions of difference and importantly the relations and alliances between these different struggles.
Members of the Cinenova Working Group Charlotte Procter, Moira Salt & Louise Shelley will talk about the recent project The Work We Share: a national public programme of newly digitised films from the Cinenova collection addressing representations of gender, race, sexuality, health and community. The films are captioned by Collective Text and supported by response commissions from contemporary artists and writers. The digitised films include Back Inside Herself by S. Pearl Sharp, A Place of Rage by Pratibha Parmar, Now Pretend by L. Franklin Gilliam, A Song of Ceylon by Laleen Jayamanne, Loss of Heat by Noski Deville, A Prayer before Birth by Jacqui Duckworth, A Question of Choice by Sheffield Film Co-op, Sweet Sugar Rage by Sistren Theatre Collective, Scuola Senza Fine by Adriana Monti, and Women of the Rhondda by Esther Ronay, Mary Kelly, Mary Capps, Humphrey Trevelyan, Margaret Dickinson, Brigid Seagrave and Susan Shapiro.
London Community Video Archive
Based at Goldsmiths, University of London, the London Community Video Archive (LCVA) preserves, archives and shares community videos made in the 1970s/80s in London and the South East. Portable video recording — now a technology routinely embodied in smartphones — became available for the very first time back in the early 1970s, making it possible for individuals and communities to make their own television. The medium was taken up by people ignored or under-represented in the mainstream media – tenants on housing estates, community action groups, women, black and minority ethnic groups, youth, gay and lesbian people, and the disabled. With an overriding commitment to social empowerment and to combating exclusion, “Community Video: dealt with issues which still have a contemporary resonance — housing, play-space, discrimination, youth arts.
Sam the Wheels
Clovis Salmon, aka Sam the Wheels was born in 1927 in Jamaica into a family of farmers who sustained a living growing crops and selling at the market. The youngest of 5 children, he was the only boy so when his father passed away when Clovis was aged 12, he became the breadwinner. In 1945, he went to Florida to work on the sugar plantations before returning to Jamaica, where he stayed until 1954 before moving to Brixton, London.
Around that time, Clovis purchased a super-8 camera and began documenting his life, family, and community. He filmed services at church, weddings and general London life as well as his annual visits back to Jamaica. His film archive offers insight into the life of a black Jamaican immigrant to the UK in the ‘50s as well as documenting a community for generations to come, including rare footage of the Brixton uprisings of 1981 which has been used by the BBC and other outlets. A resident of Railton Road, Brixton’s old “Frontline,” Sam entered into a partnership with neighbours 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning in 2008 when a proportion of his film archive was digitised for the project People, Signs and Resistance in collaboration with Mutiny Arts and Media. In the years since then 198 have continued their relationship with Sam and successfully raised the funds to digitise and catalogue the remainder of his Super 8 and Standard 8 archive in 2019.
Image credit: Contact sheet of set photographs of Soleil Ô (by Med Hondo) taken by François Catonné, 1970 © Ciné-Archives