Radical Reel is an exhibition and season of screenings celebrating 40 years of artist’s film and video works from Leeds collection. Drawing connections between cinema, performance, television and the internet, Radical Reel traces the revolutionary development of the art form through rapid technological and social change.

Kickstarting a series of monthly screenings in the White Gallery, Rosalind Nashashibi’s Hreash House 2004 is an intimate portrayal of an extended family in Nazareth, Israel. Shot over 24-hours during a period of political and social turmoil, the camera’s focus on the mundane aspects of the family’s everyday life invites us into their world of enclosure and confinement, prompting us to consider the ways we interact with our environment as well as with each other.

In the Lyons Gallery, the earliest video is displayed alongside more recent acquisitions. Leeds Art Gallery was the first UK public gallery to acquire Suzanne Lacy’s work and her pioneering video Whisper, The Waves, The Wind (1983-84) was the first moving image work to enter its collection. Calling attention to participation, memory and ageism, it documents a performance involving 154 women over the age of 65 who were invited to talk simply and honestly about their lives.

Martine Syms’ two-channel video A Pilot for a Show About Nowhere 2015 juxtaposes found footage from the internet, film and television to investigate the relationship between media, identity and representation. Blending YouTube clips of old and current television shows, it draws attention to the consumption of images that erase or make invisible black bodies, voices and narratives.

Radical Reel culminates with Harold Offeh’s Reading the Realness (2020 – ongoing), the gallery’s most recent acquisition made possible by the Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund. Featuring members of Leeds Art Gallery’s Youth Collective and its forum for older communities Meet and Make, Reading the Realness re-enacts panel discussions from popular television and radio chat shows to explore contemporary media debates and how we can better understand ourselves and each other.

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