Active in the UK between 1982 and 1997, the Black Audio Film Collective symbolised a radical attempt to transform education, institutions and the representation of black identity in independent film. Sounds in Diaspora comprises five sessions that run through this collective’s work, presented in Spain for the first time. Founded by John Akomfrah, Reece Auguiste, Lina Gopaul, Trevor Mathison, David Lawson, Edward George and Claire Joseph, the collective was a multidisciplinary team made up of film-makers, sound artists, activists, sociologists and producers, characterised by the horizontal work it distributed, along with an overhaul of realist documentary making through the display of colonial imagery originating from archive. Their films question the identity hegemony during the years of Thatcherism and, under the influence of Stuart Hall and nascent film theory, they came to examine popular culture – cinema in particular – as the primary element of resistance.
The Black Audio Film Collective stands out because of its formulation of an aesthetic programme centred on updating the revolutionary approaches of Third Cinema, which emerged in Latin America, Africa and Asia in the 1960s and 70s. As a result, they would conceive a language that was able to represent the subject and the experience of diaspora; while Third Cinema articulated global imagery of resistance based on the tension between the coloniser and the colonised, Black Audio would transform these notions from metropolitan Europe. Their work advances a more complex, nomadic and cosmopolitan identity, where travel, dispossession and fragmented memory form a visual and sound palimpsest that joins the past to the present as the country to the colony, the exploiter and the colonised become inseparable.