Programme 4, The Bartlett Screening Room (2021/2022)

Director Various, Country Various,

The Bartlett Screening Room is a series of events addressing questions around critical urbanism through the screening of short films and moving image, curated by Henrietta Williams and Open City Documentary Festival.

International short films and moving image artworks are screened for collective viewing online and followed by a conversation with the artists and/or filmmakers. Sessions are open to the public as well as students and staff across UCL. The screenings may be especially interesting to those studying architecture, anthropology and related arts and social sciences.

PROGRAMME 4.1 – Wed 3 Nov – 13.00-14.00

The Killing of Mark Duggan, 2019

Nicholas Masterton from Forensic Architecture

with Jordan Rowe as respondent.

Forensic Architecture is a research agency based at Goldsmiths University of London specialising in a form of spatial practice described as ‘investigative aesthetics’. This methodology sets out to question the production of evidence and the distortion of facts through both technologies and systems of knowledge production.

In August 2011 Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in Tottenham, North London. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) informed the UK media that Duggan was killed with a gun in his hand after he shot and injured an officer. This was immediately questioned by his family and local community who gathered at the Tottenham police station. Protests in Tottenham amplified quickly and spread into a countrywide uprising widely labelled as the ‘London riots’. Over the course of 7 days huge numbers of police were deployed in paramilitary style riot gear and over 3000 people were arrested across the UK.

Forensic Architecture’s vital investigation takes place seven years later and interrogates the evidence: police officers accounts, video material, and material objects. Contradictions and questions in the perceived narrative are revealed through careful investigation. This project acts as a key document in the history of UK police brutality and discrimination against Black Londoners and becomes part of Forensic Architecture’s long running series of investigations into global human rights abuses.

PROGRAMME 4.2 – Wed 17 Nov – 13.00-14.00

Boots on Ground, 2021

Margate, 2020

Kiran Kaur Brar

with respondent Dr Lakshmi Priya Rajendran.

Boots on Ground is an autobiographical account of a second-generation British South Asian woman’s experiences with the police, racism and violence in London. Presented in split-screen, mobile phone footage captured during protests in the summer of 2019 show the legs and feet of police officers patrolling the area around Buckingham Palace and The Houses of Parliament in indiscernible formations. Kiran Kaur Brar’s spoken narration describes a disturbing personal chronology of police violence and racial discrimination, beginning in her childhood in the 1980s and eventually converging with the day of filming.

Margate is a reticent storytelling video of family holidays past and present, haunted by the presages of cancelled future trajectories, appropriately set in the city which was once one of the UK’s symbols of the urban ‘end of the future/no future’ and is now the self-styled success case study for coastal, art-led regeneration: Margate.

In both films artist Kiran Kaur Brar activates a powerful autobiographical lens to explore the micro and macro politics of racial discrimination in the UK. Central to both works are carefully controlled written scripts, voiced by the artist, combined with lo-fi visuals that add to the viewer’s sense of deep unease. These quiet spatial studies help us as viewers to understand how discrimination and power structures operate in both structural state-led institutions as well as the actions of localised individuals.

PROGRAMME 4.3 – Wed 12 Jan – 13.00-14.00

Disintegration 93-96, 2017

Distancing, 2019

Miko Revereza

with Kanzi Leghari as invited respondent.

The work of experimental film maker Miko Revereza sets out to interrogate his personal history as an undocumented person who grew up in the US. The American dream is set against the lived experience of diaspora and the challenges of the immigrant experience.

Disintegration 93-96 follows the story of the artist’s first arrival into LAX airport as a young child flying in from the Philippines in 1993. Nostalgic VHS material of his father as a young man is interwoven with contemporary footage of the artist smoking cigarettes and wearing sunglasses, almost a parody of Americania. An overarching spoken self-reflexive text interrogates the gap between the artist and his father. Distancing documents the logistics and poetics of Miko Revereza’s decision to leave the United States and return to the Philippines. ‘My ticket is one way’, the filmmaker explains to his grandmother as she suddenly realises he isn’t coming back. Distancing is a film about this personal realisation; to leave and thus become exiled from the country where Revereza was raised.

Both films have a dream-like structure, formally embedding the notion of Revereza as a so-called Dreamer – an undocumented US migrant who arrived in the country as a child. Following Revereza’s decision to abandon the US and his family home after 26 years, he is now based in Manila. Acting as both important personal testimony of what it means to be stateless, both these films speak to the powerful themes of diaspora, colonisation and Americanisation.

Credit: Image from Distancing (Miko Revereza, 2019)

Booking for this event has now closed.

“The Bartlett Screening Room is a series of events addressing questions around critical urbanism through the screening of short films and moving image, followed by discussion.”