Black Ecstatic Cinema

Christopher Harris
Past event


Christopher Harris, 2023 recipient of The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in Film/Video, interrogates and deconstructs the photographic image in motion and in stasis. The legacy of photography and the moving image are illuminated by Harris’ incisive inquiries around the perverse representational weight of Black bodies in dominant visual culture, power dynamics embedded in the cinematic image, and the space between presence and absence. His work adds a deliberate and nuanced voice to the archival turn in film. Harris’ Black Ecstatic Cinema occupies a critical place in contemporary experimental film and exists in a broader history of collage aesthetics across film, music, visual art, and literature. Harris’ films trust viewers and demand open eyes and deliberate minds.


The program includes a post-screening talk with Christopher Harris, moderated by Jheanelle Brown.

Christopher Harris’s award-winning experimental films display his jazzman-like capacity to take common American film forms and turn them into visionary masterpieces that delight in black aesthetics of appropriation…

Terri Francis, Film Quarterly

This program features a recent restoration of Harris’ still/here (2000) by the Academy Film Archive.

The Jack H. Skirball Series is organized by Jheanelle Brown.

about the artist

Christopher Harris

Christopher Harris is a filmmaker whose films and video installations read African American historiography through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema. His work employs manually and photo-chemically altered appropriated moving images, staged reenactments of archival artifacts, and interrogations of documentary conventions. His award-winning experimental films include a long-take look at a post-industrial urban landscape, an optically printed and hand-processed film about black outlaws, a pinhole film about the cosmic consequences of the sun’s collapse, a macro lens close up of a child’s night-light, and a double-projection film about a theme park performance of Christ’s Passion. Harris recently completed two multi-screen HD video installations that reenact and reimagine the slave daguerreotypes commissioned by Louis Agassiz in 1850. His work has been exhibited at festivals, museums, and cinematheques throughout North America and Europe.


list of films

Speaking in Tongues (2024), 20 min.

still/here (2000), 60 min.