Skip to Main Content

Still from Joey Gibbs and Skip Norman’s On Africa (1970) courtesy Farocki Institut

Black Man’s Volunteer Army of Liberation and Other Films

Skip Norman: Here and Now

  • Saturday, December 9, 2023
  • 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • East Building Auditorium
  • Films
  • In-person
  • Registration Required

Join us for an introduction by Jesse Cumming, series curator, in person.

This program of three essay films Skip Norman made after his studies in Germany brings a Marxist, structuralist critique to issues of Black disenfranchisement in both the United States and Africa. On Africa (1970, digital, 35 minutes), co-directed with Joey Gibbs, emerged out of a trip Norman took to West Africa in the late 1960s. Contrasting footage of Berlin—notably the site of the 1884 conference that divided the African continent among European powers—with archival colonial photography and details of its brutality, it later incorporates striking still photographs Norman captured in his travels. His grounds-eye view is paired with a voice-over detailing the operation of neocolonial banking structures, mining, and other means of continued exploitation.

Initially produced as one film before separated for distribution, Washington D.C. November 1970 (16mm to DCP, 18 minutes) and Black Man’s Volunteer Army of Liberation (1970, 16mm to DCP, 43 minutes) take stock of the nation’s capital early in a new decade, contrasting a compendium of notable Black and abolitionist figures and American wars with speakers outside a Black Panther Party registration center, and examine a mutual aid network established in DC to support drug users, while deconstructing the issue’s root cause. Total running time of the program approximately 96 minutes.

Part of the Skip Norman: Here and Now film series.