Film: Lis Rhodes, Riff

To accompany our exhibition by Lis Rhodes, Dissident Lines, we will be screening additional works all day, on four Saturdays across June and July, in the Space on the ground floor. Each film will be shown on a loop with some Hang on a Minute films screened as interludes.


Join us for Riff (2004), which explores identity and identification as means of control in various moments and places shaped by war, violence and political resistance.

The work’s title, meaning a repeated sound or musical phrase, responds to the repetitive or relentless nature of political violence, and of those that stand in opposition to it. The film begins with images of Oakington Immigration Reception Centre in Cambridgeshire, which was highly criticised for its disregard for the safety of the children and adults that were detained there. In 2008, it was announced that the centre was the second-worst in the country and closed in 2010. Images of security signs, wire fences, barred windows and other high-security measures reveal the violent treatment of spaces designed for vulnerable people.

RIFF also presents images of the preserved ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane, a village in France that was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. The soundtrack includes the voice of Reverend Jesse Jackson, an American civil rights activist and politician and the ‘Chant des Partisan’ (1944), a song popular with the French Resistance. By juxtaposing historical and recent moments of political violence, Rhodes plays with the repetitive nature of cause and effect, and the moments of resistance that take place in between.