Opening: Carroll / Fletcher
Three channel HD video installation, monitors, sound
8 minutes 58 seconds
Director: John Akomfrah
Producers: Lina Gopaul and David Lawson
In Psyche, John Akomfrah blends fragments taken from seminal films that have influenced him, including Kenneth Macpherson’s Borderline; Kevin Brownlow & Andrew Mollo’s Winstanley; Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc; Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub’s The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach; Sergei M. Eisenstein’s Qué viva México! and Battleship Potemkin, and Peter Watkin’s Culloden. Whilst Psyche pays homage to these films, it also creates an archival study of the genre’s patterns and conventions, presenting them as paradigms of broader systems of representation.
Shots including Renée Jeanne Falconetti’s rapturously pained face of a dead 17th-century soldier’s bruised and the open-eyed visage of the woman and child looking up at the soldiers on the steps in Battleship Potemkin underline the importance of the filmic face to convey history. “From the face will come the truth of the event,” reads one of the work’s titles, and finally: “With the face you will meet paradise.”