Signs of Empire was produced while the Collective were undergraduates studying Fine Art, Sociology and Psychology at Portsmouth Polytechnic on the South Coast of England. Signs of Empire is the first of a two part 35mm slide-tape text entitled Expeditions. Expeditions Two was titled Images of Nationality. From November 1984 to March 1985, BAFC toured Expeditions at art schools, art centres and art galleries throughout England, using a Kodak dissolve unit to sequence images into blocks of narrative.
Black Audio Film Collective, 1982-1984, slide tape, sound, colour, 22 mins
Although Signs of Empire belongs to the 80s postmodernist moment of scriptovisual appropriation, it is distinguished by its preoccupation with the neoclassical iconography of empire which is reworked according to neo-Constructivist principles of framing and composition. The soundtrack for Signs of Empire combines musique concrete with tape loops of political speech; during performances, it was amplified to create an immersive environment of dread.
Signs of Empire