I Snuck Off the Slave Ship

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 7:00 pm

Still from I Snuck Off the Slave Ship, Lonnie Holley & Cyrus Moussavi, 2019

The program’s title is artist and musician Lonnie Holley’s metaphor for Black transcendence of ​America.” Conformed to all 18 minutes of the eponymous track on his album MITH, the work captures Holley doing ​his best to transgress reality with his imagination,” using handmade technology to liberate himself and the people he encounters. Alice Coltrane’s piano solo is the siren song guiding Cauleen Smith across America to sites of visionary experience that have inspired her. Humming along to the spiritual sung by Mahalia Jackson at the end of Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life, Deanna Bowen sinks layers of video transfers, appropriated audio, hand-processed film, graphics and  animation into the the sonic matrix of a semi-autobiographical short on intergenerational trauma. Bert Williams’s Lime Kiln Club Field Day, the earliest surviving all-Black feature, is the inspiration for Garrett Bradley’s America, a series of vignettes scored by Trevor Mathison and Udit Duseja that reimagines the history of Black cinema as a ​continuous thread of achievement.”

Imitation of Life (A Hypothesis)
Canada 2008
Deanna Bowen
8 min. DCP

USA 2016
Cauleen Smith
11 min. DCP

I Snuck Off the Slave Ship
USA 2019
Lonnie Holley, Cyrus Moussavi
20 min. DCP

USA 2019
Garrett Bradley
30 min. DCP

Programmed by Michèle Smith