︎ Alone with Empire

The project began in 2018 with the Alone with Empire installation that took place in the Vestibules Art Space at Bristol City Hall. This installation provided a critical space to be alone with films from the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection, 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 historical narratives are understood and presented, a digital interface was used to generate randomized film sequences presenting each visitor with a unique view into this colonial archive. All generated films were then catalogued by each participant based on subjective responses to the footage witnessed.

Alejandro Acín and Isaac Blease, project producers of Alone with Empire said: “ Our role with the help of a project team, was to facilitate public access and participation with this important collection, and through doing so we aimed to form a critical space in which visitors could question and reflect upon the murky history of the British Empire. Now we hope that the generated films can continue discussions about how we engage with our collective history and especially the legacies of the British Empire.”

Functioning as a Counter Archive, this website contains the resulting Generated film sequences, catalogued emotional responses, curated soundscape, and further contextual information. All the films showcased here have been licensed through the creative commons act, please enquire directly about usage to:

This project was produced by IC Visual Lab in collaboration with Bristol Archives, and is supported by the Arts Council of England, and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Visit the project website HERE.

Install shots from Alone with Empire, Bristol 2018.

Screenshot from Alone with Empire: The Counter-Archive interactive site.

Alone with Empire, Bristol 2018. Participant’s responses.

Visual documentation of Alone with Empire: The Counter Archive, Bizkaia Regional Library, Getxo Photo 2019. Curated by Monica Allende.