Psyché Tropes Episode 7 11pm,
24 October 2022 on Resonance 104.4FM


Psyché Tropes Episode 7, presented by Steven McInerney is dedicated to the work of The Black Audio Film Collective.

The Black Audio Film Collective was formed in Hackney, East London in 1982 by John Akomfrah, Reece Auguiste, Edward George, Lina Gopaul, Avril Johnson, David Lawson, Claire Joseph and Trevor Mathison.

They produced groundbreaking documentaries and experimental films addressing social, political, and racial crises from a particular moment in Britain. While exploring and examining black British identity through film and media, the Black Audio Film Collective's body of work developed new ways to reflect on the past, the present, and the future of black culture. The Collective became recognised through their visual experimentation, mosaic of sound and multi-stranded narratives characterised by an interest in the diasporic African experience, memory, and new modes of representation.

Kicking off Episide 8 is an excerpt from Handsworth Songs (1986) directed by John Akomfrah with music by Trevor Mathison. Handsworth Songs is a film essay on race and civil disorder in 1985 in the Birmingham district of Handsworth and urban centres of London. The film portrays civil disorder as an opening onto a secret history of dissatisfaction that is connected to the national drama of industrial decline.

Following on is the soundtrack of a sci-fi documentary titled The Last Angel of History directed by John Akomfrah with music by Trevor Mathison). A time traveller interviews “old earth people” on hair, desire and memory as dreams become the new media platform of the 23 rd century in Memory Room 451 (1997) John Akomfrah with music by Trevor Mathison.

Signs of Empire by John Akomfrah is the first of a two-part 35mm slide-tape. The work toured England from November 1984 to March 1985, using a Kodak dissolve unit to sequence images into narrative. The soundtrack to Signs of Empire, which consisted of Mathison's tape loops of musique concrete and political speeches, was amplified to create a powerful environment of dread.

By 1989, the Conservative government was three years into a programme of wealth creation and urban redevelopment unparalleled in 20th Century Britain. Black Audio Film Collective’s third film, Twilight City (1989), dir. Reece Orgeest with music by Trevor Mathison can now be seen as the first essay film to map the cartography of the new London through an excavation of the psychic and historical strata of the Docklands, Limehouse and the Isle of Dogs.

Mysteries of July (1991), a film by Reece Orgeest with music by Trevor Mathison is an examination of the hundreds of deaths in the past two decades which occurred while people were in police custody in mainland Britain.

Playing out Episode 8 is an excerpt from Seven Songs for Malcom X (1993) directed by John Akomfrah with music by Trevor Mathison. The Collective’s seventh film envisioned the death and life of the African American revolutionary, as a seven-part study. The film collects testimonies, eyewitness accounts and dramatic reenactments to tell the life, legacy, loves, and losses of Malcolm X.


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