This article analyses the short film and multi-screen installation of America (2019/2020) and the documentary feature Time (2020) by Garrett Bradley as works of radical historiography. The materiality of the gestures of tearing and stitching are a key to understanding Bradley’s methodology as a double gesture of disassembly and reassembly. The use of the lost and recovered fragments of the 1913 Lime Kiln Club Field Day in America and private self-documentation of home movies in Time offer disrupt dominant forms of history. Bradley’s distinctive strategy is a suturing of these archival materials with her own contemporary footage, yielding an aesthetic of fluid black-and-white quilting. Bradley’s abolition poetics function as an urgent contemporary process of recovery that, without ignoring or eliding the traumas of present or past violence, suggests that there can yet be an acknowledgment of the generative potential of the beauty processes of survival that have always been generated alongside them.
Tearing, Stitching, Quilting: The Abolition Poetics of Garrett Bradley
Yasmina Price is a writer and PhD student in the Departments of African American Studies and Film & Media Studies at Yale University. She focuses on anti-colonial cinema from the Global South and the work of visual artists across the African continent and diaspora, with a particular interest in the experimental work of women filmmakers. Her writings have appeared in Hyperallergic, Vulture, The Current (Criterion) and The New Inquiry.
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Yasmina Price; Tearing, Stitching, Quilting: The Abolition Poetics of Garrett Bradley. Film Quarterly 1 September 2021; 75 (1): 23–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2021.75.1.23
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