Exhibitions | Commissions

John Akomfrah
The Unfinished Conversation

19 September - 24 November 2013

Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Berlin, Germany

Past exhibition

Autograph ABP's acclaimed commission The Unfinished Conversation will be included in the exhibition After Year Zero: Geographies of Collaboration since 1945

Autograph ABP have commissioned John Akomfrah to create a new film. In this multi-layered three-screen installation, The Unfinished Conversation examines the nature of the visual as triggered across an individual’s memory landscape. With particular reference to identity and race, the film presents academic Stuart Hall’s memories and personal archives, extracted and relocated in an imagined and different time to reflect on the questionable nature of memory itself.

After Year Zero focuses on the intertwining of European and African history in the process of decolonization. At its centre are art installations and films by John Akomfrah, The Otolith Group, Kader Attia, Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, and Jihan El-Tahri, representatives of the re-examination of the Western modern age and the values it posited as universal.

What the press says

Much more than biopic, Akomfrah juxtaposes archive news footage, readings of William Blake, Dickens and Virginia Woolf and most of all Hall's own voice, to describe the world's tumbling. Hall's thoughts about identity, immigration and selfhood, evolve through a roar of telling images. Akomfrah's film, like the essence of Hall's work, is about the conundrum of being in the world, and is as unexpected as it is brilliant.

Adrian Searle, The Guardian

The Unfinished Conversation deserves at least three viewings

Sanjay Brown, LeftLion Art

The Unfinished Conversation' is certainly, in my opinion, the most accomplished of films in the biennial and it is both deeply moving as well as visually beautifully shot and edited

Natalie Parsley, A-N

Akomfrah’s film stands out as a work of substance that says important things about what Britain has become over the last half century.

Mark Hudson, The Telegraph

...the power of this film, a power magnified by its projection on three big screens so that one's eyes are forever flicking between [them].

Mark Patterson, Nottingham Post

In this film, we see Hall still at his charismatic best...reminding those of us who work in the field of his inestimable influence.

Roger Bromley, Ceasefire

La película, proyectada en tres pantallas y con una duración de 46 minutos, es, interesantísima

Javier Hontoria, El Cultural


Commissioned by

Autograph ABP

Executive Producer

Mark Sealy

Mark Sealy MBE is the Director of Autograph ABP. He is currently a PhD candidate at Durham University, his research focuses on photography and cultural violence.

Produced by

Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, Smoking Dogs Films

In collaboration with

Professor Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall is a cultural theorist and sociologist. He was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies.

An Autograph ABP Commission

Autograph ABP has commissioned artists since 1990. Our commissions bring visibility to photographic histories and practices that have often been overlooked. 
Past commissions >

Project funded by

Grants for Arts, Arts Council England and supported by the Bluecoat, New Art Exchange, Nottngham and the The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University, Cambridge and Smoking Dogs Films Production.

With kind support from NAXOS Books, The Open University, BBC, Time Images, Getty Images and Paul Gerhardt.

Press contact

For further information, images and interviews, please contact Lois Olmstead at Autograph ABP - phone 020 7720 9200 or email lois@autograph-abp.co.uk

Additional Info

After Year Zero: Geographies of Colaboration since 1945 will be held at
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin


Wednesday - Monday: 11am - 7pm

  • Installation at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin
  • Still from John Akomfrah, The Unfinished Conversation
  • Dawoud Bey, Stuart Hall, 1998