Greyzone Zebra plans to set up artistic research for Contour Biennale 9 in two stages. The collective, which has emerged from a need to reflect on colonial history, will organise an initial session on Saturday 12 January 2019. Greyzone Zebra intends to involve the public actively in discussion and writing processes. Family films from European colonies, dating from the 19th century to the first years of these colonies’ independence, provoke many questions that form the starting point for a dialogue. Greyzone Zebra will also use the first session to launch a call for films still gathering dust in people’s attics in Mechelen and the surrounding region. The collective will use these films to initiate a process of discovering and taking stock of film recordings from this period, along with people living in Mechelen.
The artistic practices that Greyzone Zebra is developing for family archives from the colonial period enable us to think together about processes of remembering and forgetting. The collective’s interest in these unknown film productions has to do with the spontaneity of the cinematic gesture. Although most of these private archives are not intended as deliberate propaganda, traces of it can often still be found. The private nature of the recordings enables us to shift our perspective from the discourse imposed by official ideology to a more intimate reading. In other words, these family films are valuable research material to put our view of colonial history into perspective.
The collective’s second intervention will be held during the final period of Contour Biennale 9. In October 2019, the Greyzone Zebra research at this final session will focus on the recordings they have collected with the help of people in Mechelen.