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Filipa César and Louis Henderson, Sunstone, film still, 2017. Co-commissioned by Gasworks and Contour Biennale 8. Courtesy of the artists.

7-9pm, Friday 2 June
10am-7pm, Saturday 3 June
Free, book using the buttons below. Please arrive promptly

Gasworks presents Refracted Spaces, a research seminar convened by Filipa César and Louis Henderson. Developed as a way to expand on their research for Op Film: An Archaeology of Optics, the event situates the work presented in the exhibition in a wider context, incorporating the critical perspectives and practices of various other thinkers, researchers and artists.

Together with Zach Blas, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Ana Naomi de Sousa, Olivier Marboeuf, Margarida Mendes, Rachel O'Reilly, Roque Pina and Lorenzo Pezzani, the artists will discuss the themes of their exhibition in relation to topics ranging from indigenous sea-navigation methods and cartographic law to forensic research of the Mediterranean refugee crisis; from aesthetic strategies of nonlocality, opacity and obscurity that interrupt optical surveillance to systemic racism embedded within technological developments; and from the materiality and ontology of blackness and black light to afrofuturist narratives of submarine resistance.

The seminar includes a conversation between Filipa César, Louis Henderson and Roque Pina, the protagonist of their film Sunstone and the keeper of the lighthouse at Cabo da Roca, Portugal – the westernmost point of continental Europe.


Friday 2 June

  • 7pm: Introduction
  • 7.15-8.30pm: Margarida Mendes presents a ritual projection of moving image works that dwell on the electrical grid and its spells, exploring how the rhythms and anxieties produced by the infrastructural properties of light elicit expanded sensorial perception.
  • 8.30pm: Reading by Filipa César and Louis Henderson

Eventbrite - Research Seminar: Refracted Spaces - FRIDAY

Saturday 3 June

  • 10am: Introduction
  • 10.30am: Rachel O'Reilly
  • 11.30am Roque Pina in conversation with Filipa César and Louis Henderson
  • 12.30pm Lorenzo Pezzani
  • 1.30pm: Lunch
  • 2.30pm: Ana Naomi de Sousa
  • 3.30pm: Zach Blas
  • 4.30pm: Olivier Marboeuf
  • 5.30pm: Tea break
  • 6pm: Denise Ferreira da Silva (via Skype)

Eventbrite - Research Seminar: Refracted Spaces - SATURDAY

Participants' Biographies

Zach Blas is an artist and writer whose practice engages technics and minoritarian politics. He is currently a Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, recently at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; eflux, New York; and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City. Blas’s artist monograph Escaping the Face will be published by Sternberg Press and Rhizome in 2017. His work has been written about and featured in Artforum, Frieze, Art Papers, Mousse Magazine, and Art Review.

Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the fictional aspects of the documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent to moving image. Since 2011, César has been looking into the origins of cinema of the African Liberation Movement in Guinea Bissau as a laboratory of resistance to ruling epistemologies. Selected exhibitions and screenings have taken place at: 29th São Paulo Biennial, 2010; Manifesta 8, Cartagena, 2010; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2011–15; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2012; Kunstwerke, Berlin, 2013; SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin 2014–15; Futura, Prague 2015; Tensta konsthall, Spånga, 2015; and Mumok, Vienna, 2016. César premiered her first feature length essay-film Spell Reel at the Forum section of the 67. Berlinale, 2017.

Ana Naomi de Sousa is an independent documentary filmmaker and journalist who is interested in spatial politics, race, historical memory, popular culture and political activism. She is the director of the films The Architecture of Violence; Angola - Birth of a Movement; Guerrilla Architect; and Hacking Madrid; and film co-director on the project Saydnaya: Inside a Syrian Torture Prison. She collaborates with the Forensic Architecture agency, and writes for Al Jazeera English and the Guardian, among others. She is currently developing her first feature-length film. 

Louis Henderson is an artist and filmmaker whose works investigate connections between colonialism, technology, capitalism and history. Henderson has shown his work at places such as: Rotterdam International Film Festival, Doc Lisboa, CPH:DOX, New York Film Festival, The Contour Biennial, The Kiev Biennial, The Centre Pompidou, SAVVY Contemporary, The Gene Siskell Film Centre and Tate Britain. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Barbara Aronofsky Latham Award for Emerging Video Artist at the 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival, USA, and a European Short Film Award—New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw, Poland. His work is distributed by LUX (UK) and Video Data Bank (USA).

Olivier Marboeuf is an author, performer, independent curator and the founder of the art centre Espace Khiasma, which he has directed since 2004 in Les Lilas, on the outskirts of Paris. He has developed a programme centred around social realities and contemporary politics, which associates performances, debates and exhibitions, and questions the place of discourse and oral expression in the arts. Interested by the dynamics of narrative speculations as tools for critical theory, his research has progressively led him to explore contemporary cinematographic practices (collaborating on exhibitions with Vincent Meessen, Alexander Schelow, Sandy Amerio, Matthieu K. Abonnenc, Brad Butler and Karen Mirza). Since 2010 he has produced films for exhibitions, which are subsequently presented in diverse festivals in France and abroad. In 2013 he participated in the creation of a production company Spectre, whose objective is to offer a structure of support for ambitious projects of artists and filmmakers. Among them: Louis Henderson, Filipa César, Ana Vaz, Eric Baudelaire, Ismaïl Bahri, Jean-Charles Hue and Dorothée Smith.

Rachel O’Reilly is an Australian-born writer/artist/poet, independent researcher, curator and educator, whose work bridges art and situated cultural politics, media philosophy and political economy. She trained as a curator of international and Asia Pacific film, video and new media (Gallery of Modern Art and Australian Cinematheque 2004-08, Asia Pacific Triennial 2008), and has an MA (Cum Laude) in Media and Culture from the University of Amsterdam (2012). From 2013-14 she was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie, NL where she incepted the artistic research project, The Gas Imaginary, exploring the aesthetic politics of 'unconventional extraction' (esp. fracking) investments in settler colonial space. Her artistic work has been presented at Tate Livepool, David Roberts Art Foundation, London, Museum of Yugloslav History, Belgrade, BAK, Utrecht, Jakarta Biennale, Qalandiya International, Jerusalem; her academic writing published by Cambridge Scholars Press, MIT Press, and Postcolonial Studies journal among others. She writes with Danny Butt on artistic autonomy in settler colonial space and with Jelena Vesic and Vlidi Jeri on the legacies of Non-Aligned Movement, and teaches the seminar 'At the Limits of the Writerly' as part of the ‘How to Do Things with Theory’ program at the Dutch Art Institute, NL.

Roque Pina is the protagonist of Filipa César and Louis Henderson’s film Sunstone and the keeper of the lighthouse at Cabo da Roca, Portugal – the westernmost point of continental Europe.

Lorenzo Pezzani is Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he leads the Forensic Architecture MA studio. His work deals with the spatial politics and visual cultures of migration, with a particular focus on the geography of the ocean. Since 2011, he has been working on Forensic Oceanography, a collaborative project that critically investigates the militarized border regime in the Mediterranean Sea. Together with a wide network of NGOs, scientists, journalists and activist groups, he has produced maps, visualizations and human right reports that attempt to document the violence perpetrated against migrants at sea and challenge the regime of visibility imposed by surveillance means on this contested area.