Discipline: Film/Video – experimental

Christopher Harris

Discipline: Film/Video – experimental
Region: IOWA
MacDowell Fellowships: 2018

Christopher Harris makes films and video installations that read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema. His work employs manually and photo-chemically altered appropriated moving images, staged re-enactments of archival artifacts, and interrogations of documentary conventions. His current project is a series of optically-printed 16mm experimental films in conversation with canonical works of African-American literature.

His international exhibitions include a career retrospective at the Belo Horizonte International Short Film Festival (Brazil), solo screenings at the Museum of Modern Art, Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland), Images Festival (Toronto), Encontro de Cinema Negro (Rio de Janeiro), Arsenal-Institute for Film and Video (Berlin), and a solo performance at the Essay Film Festival (London). Additional exhibitions include solo screenings at the True/False Film Fest (Columbia, MO), the Brakhage Center Symposium (Boulder, CO), and the Gene Siskel Film Center (Chicago, IL); a solo exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH); two-person screenings at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Washington, D.C.) and UnionDocs (Brooklyn); and group screenings at the 2021 New York Film Festival, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Artists' Film Biennial at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the VIENNALE-Vienna International Film Festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, among many others.

In May of 2022, Harris received Prismatic Ground’s second annual Ground Glass Award for outstanding contribution in the field of experimental media. He also received the 2020-2021 Radcliffe-Film Study Center Fellow/David and Roberta Logie Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a 2020 Artist Project Grant from Los Angeles Filmforum, Media City Film Festival’s 2020 Chrysalis Fellowship, the 2019-20 Artist Residency Award from the Wexner Center for the Arts, and was a featured artist at the 2018 Flaherty Seminar He was also the recipient of a 2015 Creative Capital grant. Writing about his work has appeared in Art in America, Cinema Scope Magazine, and Millennium Film Journal, and numerous books and periodicals. Interviews with Harris have appeared in Film Comment, Mubi.com, BOMB Magazine, and Film Quarterly among other print and online journals.

In residence at MacDowell, he worked on Speaking in Tongues, a 16mm experimental film that analogizes the carceral apparatus, which regulates the movements of Black bodies, with the conventions and mechanics of the cinematic apparatus, which regulates the movement of the filmstrip through the projector. Equal parts essay and visual art, this project defies the threat of state violence as well as the conventions of cinematic realism through a collage of manually and optically altered original documentary and archival film.



Christopher Harris worked in the Mixter studio.

Built in 1927–1930, the Florence Kilpatrick Mixter Studio was funded by its namesake and designed by the architect F. Winsor, Jr., who also designed MacDowell's original Savidge Library in 1925. Mixter Studio, solidly built of yellow and grey-hued granite, once had sweeping views of Pack Monadnock to the east. The lush forest has now grown…

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