Black Audio's Archival Flight
The third chapter examines the shape of fugitive time in two films by the Black Audio Film Collective: Handsworth Songs (1986) and Twilight City (1989). Established in London in 1982 by a group of students of West African and West Indian descent, Black Audio’s early essay films sought to chronicle how memory, place, and identity marked the fault lines of what it meant to be black in the age of Thatcherism. The chapter isolates the myriad bodies seeking escape from the sprawling history of black subjugation in these two films, as well as the ways this anticipation of escape is sutured into their filmic architectures. Using archival newsreel footage, ambient electronic music, voice-over narration, and other features, Black Audio cinematically locates an ephemeral beyond-world of release in Handsworth’s dialectical “third space” of montage and in Twilight’s nondiegetic queer tableaux.