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From over 800 films, and 400 hours of footage, ‘Alone with Empire’ is an installation that allows an archive to reveal itself – creating a unique visual experience that questions the legacy of the British Empire.

This installation provides a critical space to be alone with films from the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection (BECC), aiming to challenge the ways in which colonial film footage can be presented and experienced.

By embracing ‘chaos’ as a creative method to question how we understand historical narratives, a digital interface is used to generate randomized film pieces presenting each visitor with their own unique sequence of colonial film footage. Alejandro Acín and Isaac Blease, the creative producers of Alone with Empire say: ‘’We see our role as facilitating public access and participation with this important collection, and through doing so we aim to form a critical space in which visitors can question and reflect upon the murky history of the British Empire.”

The resulting visual experiences will be catalogued by visitors using emotional keywords, and all the films generated will become part of a new counter-archive, which will be hosted on a dedicated project website. Nicky Sugar, BECC archivist says: “Over the last 3 years we’ve made 220 digitised films from the British Empire and Commonwealth available from the Bristol Archives search-room. But we want to reach a much wider audience across the city and beyond, so we’re delighted to be involved in this project.”

This event is organized by IC Visual Lab in conjunction with Bristol Archives, and is supported by the Arts Council of England, and Heritage Lottery Fund. Alone with Empire runs from the 1st – 15th of October 2018.


Access and opening times

Alone with Empire / Multimedia installation
1st – 15th of October 2018
At the Vestibules Art Space
(Deanery Road side) at Bristol City Hall
College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR


ALONE WITH EMPIRE. Coming soon! Teaser 2 from IC-Visual Lab on Vimeo.

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