The Unfinished Conversation, 2012

John Akomfrah
The Unfinished Conversation, 2012
Three-channel colour video projection with sound
Digital Betacam video, 4K digital files, 35 mm photographs,
16 mm super 8 film
46 minutes
Installation view

Overview

The Unfinished Conversation is a three-screen narrative construction that focuses on some of the key cultural and political debates of the postwar period as seen through the prism of the life and work of the Jamaican-born British academic Stuart Hall. One of the most esteemed cultural theorists of his generation, Hall is a founding figure of Cultural Studies and an architect of the New Left in Britain. His interests straddle a range of disciplines and areas, including Marxism, nuclear disarmament, race, television, cultural politics and diasporic identities.

The installation focuses on Hall’s formative years in the 1950s and 1960s, alluding to events and debates that shaped his development such as the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the Suez Crisis, the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt (all 1956) and the rise of feminism.

The Unfinished Conversation is an exercise in 'spectropoetics', a revisitation of the ghosts that haunt a life. Hence the work moves between Hall’s voice, ideas, memories, inventions and insights, and immerses his biography in historical events. For Hall, identity is never a finished product or a given reality, but an ever-changing relationship that emerges between subjects and history – an 'unfinished conversation'.


2013

This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 11

Visuals

The Unfinished Conversation

John Akomfrah
2012

Three-channel colour video projection with sound
Digital Betacam video, 4K digital files,
35 mm photographs, 16 mm super 8 film
46 minutes
Installation view

View all images
The Unfinished Conversation Image

The Unfinished Conversation

John Akomfrah
2012

Three-channel colour video projection with sound
Digital Betacam video, 4K digital files,
35 mm photographs, 16 mm super 8 film
46 minutes
Installation view

The Unfinished Conversation Image

The Unfinished Conversation

John Akomfrah
2012

Three-channel colour video projection with sound
Digital Betacam video, 4K digital files,
35 mm photographs, 16 mm super 8 film
46 minutes
Installation view

Close images
The Unfinished Conversation Image