I Think You Should Come to America (2017) is an outcome of my 2016 Artist in Residence programme at Basement Films/Experiments in Cinema Festival (Albuquerque, New Mexico). Funded by the Arts Council of England, the National Endowment for the Humanities, New Mexico Arts and New Mexico Humanities Council (USA) the film is accompanied by the soundtrack composed and performed by Timothy Nelson (who has previously collaborated with filmmakers such as the Quay Brothers). Through utilising Hollywood-like 16mm archival footage and my correspondence with an incarcerated Native American, the film exposes the patterns of cultural (mis)representation that contributed to the creation of the ideal of America as a ‘land of freedom’ that teenagers like myself, living in the Polish People’s Republic, fantasised about. The film investigates the gap between history as a social construct and history as a personal experience. I Think You Should Come to America functions as a testing ground for my idea of aesthetic violence (see my ‘Aesthetic Violence and Anarchival Turn’ article) – an artistic strategy based on a carefully orchestrated cut that creates a tension between archival and deliberately shot material. This film is an example of violence as a politically necessary artistic action that aims to expose the workings of what cultural theorist Rob Nixon calls slow violence and which in short can be described as social injustice (Nixon, 2011). Through this film I see aesthetic violence as a plea for productive (as opposed to reproductive) ways of analysing and critiquing contemporary uses of media. The film was created in tandem with the Disasters of Peace research project that involves making, writing and curating and which aims to examine ways in which experimental filmmaking can challenge the prevalent representations of disaster, beyond the apparatus of spectacle.
Film link: https://vimeo.com/216466726
Funded by The Arts Council of England, National Endowment for the Humanities (USA), New Mexico Arts and Humanities Council