Rhea Storr continually explores the representation of Black culture and the adequacy of technology-particularly analogue film practices-in the representation of ‘othered’ bodies.
Rhea Storr makes films about Black and Mixed-race identities, asking where images fail or resist us. Recent themes include Masquerade and the female body, or Black bodies in rural spaces. She often works on 16mm film whilst making peripheral photographs and costumes. Recent screenings include National Museum of African American History and Culture, US, European Media Art Festival, Hamburg International Short Film Festival, Kassel Doc Fest, Berwick Film and Media Art Festival, Whitechapel Gallery and ‘Get Up Stand Up Now’, Somerset House. Rhea Storr is the winner of the inaugural Louis Le Prince Experimental Film Prize, Best Artist Film 2019 at Aesthetica Film Festival and is a director of Not Nowhere film cooperative London, focusing on the 16mm lab.
Digital and Super 16mm converted to digital / 12:00 min / 2017
02:36 min excerpt
The Adequate Language must be both culturally specific and engage universally.
‘Junkanoo Talk’ investigates the language of celebration through carnival. It employs the techniches of costume crafting particular to Junkanoo- a carnival of the Bahamas. The sound is produced on the body and takes the rhythms of Rake ‘n’ Scrape music, also particular to the Bahamas. James Baldwin is quoted, speaking of the comlexities of being an African American living in France, along with the Bahamian Tourism Minister who speaks of appropriation and the body as a voice.
Colour is coded in a way which suggests an internal logic, the layering on of a costume comparative to the layering on of a language. The film seeks a near forensic way of looking, yet the viewer is systematically denied the full picture. What is concealed or revealed is carefully orchestrated in order to facilitate a questioning of carnival. The body is considered a highly abstracted mediator to confront an identity politics which is inbetween. Authored by an artist of mixed race, ‘Junkanoo Talk’ questions the slippages which occur when a language performs across cultures, asking what can be translated and where resistances occur.
A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message
Super 16mm converted to digital / 12:00 min / 2018
Celebration is protest at Leeds West Indian Carnival. A look at forms of authority, 'A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message' asks who is really performing. Following Mama Dread's, a troupe whose carnival theme is Caribbean immigration to the UK, we are asked to consider the visibility of black bodies, particularly in rural spaces.
The Image that Spits, the Eye that Accumulates
Digital and Super 16mm converted to digital / 11:00 min / 2018
The image that spits is the image which violently rejects me but sits beside me nontheless.
You can’t see it here.
I cannot voice it ‘
A body acquires language. It must negotiate the eroding Norfolk landscape, images of the landscape and other bodies. As notions of ‘I’ and ‘other’ disintegrate, the images become unstable, unreliable and the effects of coastal erosion become clear. Film or digital; an embodied camera or passive observer, the images are inadequate.
The film stock has eroded too. Kodachrome film was once hailed for its vibrant colours and archival properties but now only able to be developed in black and white. Through a convoluted process of coloured filters, I have restored colour to the film. However anything which moves does not retain its proper colour. History is for those who have the means to fix themselves.