From Here a Home Was Imagined: Part 1
Black Obsidian Sound System
Martha Adonai Williams
Patrick, 2020, Luke Fowler & Collective Hum, B.O.S.S, 2019 + writing by Martha Adonai Williams
Few media formats are as synonymous with the energy and spirit of Queer Liberation than music. The beats and joy expressed through disco, house and techno continue to soundtrack and offer a glimpse into the radical dream of a Queer Utopia. In Luke Fowler’s Patrick (2020), 16mm footage shot across San Francisco is edited together with the sounds of Patrick Cowley’s pioneering contributions to electronic music, which acted as the backdrop to gay male spaces — from bath houses to discotheques — in San Francisco throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s. Despite Cowley’s early death from AIDS related complications, Fowler’s film creates a textured and vibrant portrait of the producer in their absence by highlighting Cowley’s intense creativity.
In looking back for stories of progress and innovation within Queer communities, the lives of individuals are often held up as examples of heroes. In Collective Hum (2019), Black Obsidian Sound System instead foreground collective action and organising as key principles in the development of Black British Sound. Documenting a collective in action, multiple narrators create a polyphonic soundtrack for the images in the film which celebrate the multiple bodies, gestural languages and vital energies of sound system culture.
Writer and programmer Martha Adonai Williams has written in response to the works included in this programme. Reflecting on the themes of memorial and nostalgia, A womb is not always a longed for place, yet moves in and out of queer temporalities and locations, folding in a host of sources.
This programme is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI.
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The films in this programme were previously streamed 25 – 31 October 2021.
Read 'A womb is not always a longed for place, yet' by Martha Adonai Williams