VIVO Media Arts Centre Archive > Embedding History and Remembering Trauma

In Visible Colours Remediated 2022


Screening 2: Embedding History and Remembering Trauma

Saturday, September 24.  4:30 – 6:30pm Pacific Time


Introduction by Jade Courschesne

A Surface of Emergence: A Micro programming 

Given the urge to dissent, the homogenization of discourse, the erasures of selective memory registers, the neoliberal universities, the redeployment of the 1980s vocabulary with different import,  a generation grapples with an erased past. How does one narrate an event from the past—30-year ago—to the audience of the present day? The decision to go with such micro programming stemmed out of my interests in Micro-History. The excess of theorization as well as the longue durée tend to erase the living reality of the individuals, full of instabilities, change and emotions. That is a fundamental issue because what is the point of looking at the past if we are unable to display and reveal the lived reality?

Under the influence of famous historians such as Carlo Ginzburg, Carlo Poni and Giovanni Levi, micro-history inscribed itself in the intellectual tradition of Benedetto Croce which had a particular interest for the aesthetic of the singular. They focused on the individual scale and tried to understand the norm through the intense use of primary sources. What Ginzburg calls “paradigma indiziaro” offers a way forward in order to make an interpretation about a past event that we do not have access to. It is this method of micro-history which foregrounded culture and yet was not a method with doctrinal injunctions, but rather a way of interrogating research and its ambitions.

 I have selected the films to bring together the above thematics addressed by In Visible Colours as well as reflect on the lived reality of the times and the women filmmakers. In Visible Colours offered ‘a surface of emergence’ and it is hoped that these works give an impetus to the possibility to open up new lines of inquiries into In Visible Colours and its legacy.

  — programming note by Zainub Verjee

This collection of works foregrounds the erasures that need to be embedded into history. Foregrounding the inherent trauma and its collective memory, the works define the agency of women filmmakers.

Selected films/videos are from the original programming of In Visible Colours (1989).

Media will be available to view here on September 24, 4:30 – 6:30 pm PT only.

ASL will be streamed on zoom. Please watch in split-screen in real-time.

Sari Red

Pratibha Parmar
UK, 1988, 12min
Language: English
Transcript / ASL


Made in memory of Kalbinder Kaur Hayre who was killed by three white fascists in 1985. This experimental document uses symbols, icons and signs rooted within Indian culture and religion to explore racial violence, particularly the effect of the threat of violence upon the lives of Asian women. Sari Red is an angry protest linking the incident to present-day colonial thinking and beliefs.

Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

Carol Geddes
Canada, 1986, 29min
Language: English
Transcript / ASL


A tribute to Indigenous women everywhere, this short documentary focuses on 5 women from across Canada. Of varied ages and backgrounds, they have achieved success in a variety of careers: as the Yukon legislature’s first Indigenous woman minister (Margaret Joe), as a deck hand on a fishing boat (Corinne Hunt), as a teacher (Sophie MacLeod), as a lawyer (Roberta Jamieson), and as a band council chief (Sophie May Pierre – St. Mary’s Indian Band of the Ktunaxa Nation off the Ktunaxa Nation). Each of these women talks about how she got to where she is today while emphasizing the importance of Indigenous culture – its values, art, and spiritual beliefs – in helping her to develop a sense of self and seeing through rough times, including residential school experiences.

Black Mother Black Daughter

Sylvia Hamilton and Claire Prieto
Canada, 1989, 29min
Language: English
Transcript / ASL


Black Mother Black Daughter explores the lives and experiences of black women in Nova Scotia, their contributions to the home, the church and the community and the strengths they pass on to their daughters.

Eyes Skinned

Mona Hatoum / Western Front Video
Canada, 1989, 29min


Mona Hatoum’s Eyes Skinned is a hard hitting piece, symbolically describing the atrocities committed on Palestinian people. Images of a black-hooded face are intercut with scenes of brutality and torture and set against a soundscape of broadcast news relaying the intensifying destruction of the Palestinian people.