Originally posted on That's How The Light Gets In:
When I saw John Akomfrah’s The Unfinished Conversation at the Bluecoat in November 2012 I was deeply moved. Like everyone else I know who saw the three-screen installation based on the life, work and thoughts of the Jamaican-born sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall, I loved it so much, I had to go back and see it again several times.
Since then, Akomfrah has expanded his exploration of Hall’s life and legacy in a documentary film, The Stuart Hall Project, that was released last year. Following the news of Stuart Hall’s death, we watched the film on DVD last night. However, watching the 90 minute film turned out to be very different to the experience of being immersed in the multiple screen poetry of The Unfinished Conversation. At twice the length, The Stuart Hall Project obviously shares the same genes as the installation, but is a quite different creature: the film, mainly utilising different archive footage, is structured in a more linear fashion, and is less lyrical, poetic and moving than its antecedent.