‘Diasporas always maintain an open horizon toward the future. They are in that sense spaces of emergence’ (Stuart Hall 2017: 198)
Patti Gaal-Holmes was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to German/Hungarian immigrants and lived/travelled in various countries before settling in the UK. Her cross-disciplinary practice includes working with moving image (celluloid and digital), photography and drawing. Work is informed by her cross-cultural background, travelling and by discourses on migration and post/colonialism. Philosophical, theoretical and literary questions on the meaning of exile and 'home' underpin recent work, informed by (amongst others) Stuart Hall, Vilém Flusser, W.G. Sebald, Breyten Breytenbach and Walter Benjamin. Questions related to how we live, and particularly how we observe our living, are consistent preoccupations. In this it is the recorded evidence of existence that offers up a rich seam of material for excavation, enabling a sense of real or imaginary narrations of human existence. Processes of thinking between theory and practice are integral to methodological approaches and an interest in exploring the material qualities of film/photography has directed recent work with historic photographic processes (cyanotype and Van Dyke) and hand-processing of 8mm and 16mm film.
Liliesleaf Farm Mayibuye: In Search of the Spectres of History (2016) screened at the 60th BFI Film Festival, London on 9th October 2016 in the Experimenta screenings.
An Arts Council England grant to develop work with 16mm film included a residency at no.w.here experimental film 'lab' (London). Kevin Rice's wonderfully inspiring workshops at no.w.here included exploring the architecture of the filmstrip, adrift on silver halides and chemical hazes, and tinting, toning and destroying film.
Collaborations with award-winning Australian singer/songwriter Emily Barker have resulted in a collection of short films and songs, including the recent music video for No 5 Hurricane. Patti and Emily have performed films/music together at Late at Tate Britain, King's Place, The Green Man Festival, Aspex Gallery, etc.
'On the Natural History of Destruction' (two short films and an artists' book) was commissioned for 'Space Interrupted' in response to the historic site, Fort Brockhurst (UK). A Hosking Houses Trust residency enabled work towards the completion of a short film focused on the historic apartheid site, Liliesleaf Farm (South Africa).
Patti has been a member of Art Space Portsmouth since 2005. Her BA (Visual Art) was completed at Winchester School of Art, as was her MA (Painting) for which she secured an AHRB grant. She is Reviews Editor for the Routledge journal, 'Transnational Cinemas'. Patti's doctoral thesis on 1970s British experimental film was supported by an AHRC grant and is the subject of a publication by Palgrave Macmillan: 'A History of 1970s Experimental Film: Britain’s Decade of Diversity' ( 2015). The completion of the book was also supported by a Hosking Houses Trust residency.
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