Black Audio Film Collective’s 1986 Handsworth Songs is an experimental documentary about uprisings against racialized police violence in Thatcherite Britain. Crucially, it is also a critique of their media coverage and colonial pre-histories. At 5:30pm CST on Thursday April 13th, the film will be screened with augmented audio-description by Elaine Lillian Joseph and creative captions by Care-fuffle Working Group. This new version of the film came about through slow emergency siren, ongoing: a year-long project, led by LUX and Sarah Hayden, to make Handsworth Songs newly and differently accessible. This process was documented in a publication designed by Daly & Lyon in consultation with the UK Association for Accessible Formats. slow emergency siren, ongoing is accessible in large print format and as a customisable website, developed with screenreaders in mind. Our book makes the captions and annotated audio description script available in a new way: transforming moving image into texts that can be read, interpreted and re-translated in turn.
Prior to the screening, Sarah will deliver a talk (c.45 minutes). Introducing Handsworth Songs, she will trace the slow, deliberative process by which the film’s sound and image track were interpreted. slow emergency siren, ongoing occasioned interrogation of both the film’s historical moment and our own. Throughout the project, access was practiced as partial, situated, relational and provisional. Captioning, audio description and large print design celebrate and extend the film’s integral complexity. Instead of simplifying or flattening, slow emergency siren, ongoing summons further, almost fractal, dimensions to surface. Handsworth Songs is a film (in)famous for its preoccupation with polyphony. Never designated as definitive, the collaborative translation that resulted is one among infinite potential alternate versions that might one day be made. Sarah’s talk will explore how Black Audio Film Collective’s sustained attention to structures of representation, temporal disruptions and archival instability prompted us to practice access-making as double alertness. In developing equivalent expressions for the film’s once contentiously abstract form, we worked to stay attentive to the politics at play in the structures of our cross-modal translation.
More about the Speaker
Sarah Hayden is a writer and Associate Professor in Literature and Visual Culture at the University of Southampton. She leads an AHRC Innovation Fellowship project on intersections of voice, text, access and art called “Voices in the Gallery”. Recent publications include essays for Cultural Politics and b2o: boundary2 online; new essays are forthcoming in Angelaki and Bricks from the Kiln. In 2022, she collaborated with LUX on slow emergency siren, ongoing: Accessing Handsworth Songs and edited the book (large print and online) by that name. She is currently writing a book on voice in art for Minnesota University Press.
Access Notes: This event will include ASL interpretation and CART captions and will incorporate visual descriptions. The film is audio described and included open captions. Attendees are welcome to join in person or via zoom. If you have additional access needs or concerns please email email@example.com.