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5 mins
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Director: Wendy Morris: Belgium, 2008
Keywords: Video art; World War I; Great War
Off the Record is an animated film, created during the artist’s residency at In Flanders Fields Museum, about the South African war experience in the First World War. Two documents form the basis of this non-narrative film, a war diary kept by the artist’s great-uncle Walter, and a 1917 account by Sol Plaatje of the frustrated attempts of many black South Africans to play their part in the war effort. The work explores the different treatment of black and white South African soldiers in Europe during the First World War. The title refers to lack of recognition given to black South African men who laboured in Europe during the Great War. These men did not receive the medals awarded by the British Government to all others who laboured on the sides of the Allies. Off the Record is made by means of charcoal drawings that are filmed, altered and refilmed. The prisoner-of-war’s face transforms through five faces of different men who served as labourers. Through animation the artist seeks to create points of convergence between these disparate histories. Her films are based on historic finds which she uses to address complex circumstances. Her works fluctuate between documentary context and artistic abstraction. The principle of continuous transformation is fundamental to her whole oeuvre. See also the book published in conjunction with the film - Wendy Morris : off the record : 2008 artist in residence In Flanders Fields Museum / Piet Chielens, Wendy Morris, Elisabeth van Caelenberge: In Flanders Fields Museum, 2008 @ BA 709.968 MORR


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