chapter  6
27 Pages

Between Documentary and the Avant-Garde: Exploring the Visual Poetics of Ruins in Christopher Harris’s still/here: Terri Francis


Christopher Harris’s still/here is a sixty-minute experimental fi lm document that explores the visual and emotional textures of dilapidated buildings in what were once the vibrant traditionally African-American neighborhoods of St. Louis, Missouri. Harris’ thesis fi lm for his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, still/here studies the architectural poetics rather than present a traditional expository essay or activist argument. Harris explores the melancholy frontiers between nostalgia and history, loss and progress, eyesores and ruins, drawing upon the visual strategies and rhetorical styles of both documentary and avant-garde fi lmmaking.3