Cinema Parenthèse #14: Moira Tierney - Down Clairborne

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CINEMA PARENTHÈSE  and WIELS is happy to present a screening of "Down Clairborne" (2018) by MOIRA TIERNEY. In the framework of the exhibition Ellen Gallagher & Edgar Cleijne: Liquid Intelligence at WIELS

Moira Tierney’s film "Down Clairborne" examines one of the most striking aspects of New Orleans’s topography: a highway that cuts right through the city, slicing through, among others, the historic 7th Ward. This is also the starting point for the film installation Highway Gothic by Ellen Gallagher and Edgar Cleijne presented in the exhibition Liquid Intelligence at WIELS. Built in 1968, it dismantled one of the most active Black neighbourhoods, which still operates under the shadows of the “freeway.” The local community reclaims their neighbourhood using a variety of tactics: mural painting, represented by the frescoes painted onto the concrete pillars supporting the highway overpass, and collective masking traditions, as evidenced by the Mardi Gras Indians, in the neighbourhoods surrounding the highway.

These two elements of local culture share an insistence on the importance of history, highlighting its role in the perpetuation of the culture and in the ongoing resistance to its displacement. Their content often overlaps (the highway frescoes reference the Mardi Gras Indians as well as the Maroon tradition of runaway slaves and Native Americans forming independent communities) and both operate within the post-colonial “profession of hybridization,” as defined by Haitian poet René Depestre.

Tierney’s "Down Clairborne" zooms in on the Mississippi and down into the Treme, slides under the highway overpass and moves down Claiborne Avenue from pillar to pillar, building to a celebratory and cathartic climax with the Comanche Hunter and Hard Head Hunter tribes of the Mardi Gras Indians meeting in ceremonial battle on Mardi Gras.

“I shot on Super 8mm and 16mm silent film, editing in camera as much as possible. I wanted the sound track to add layers of information to the image, without providing an authoritative ‘explanation.’ It was necessary to fill in the gaps in the official histories and I had the idea of the exchange of information via less linear circuitry. I constructed the ‘scenario’ as a collage of voices: excerpts from New Orleans radio stations; spoken word (composed for the film by John Lacarbiere III); two jazz tracks contributed by Mario Abney; extracts from archival material or contemporary event listings; songs of the Mardi Gras Indians, courtesy of B.C. Goodman and B.C. Melancon; and the final voice-over, which was recorded impromptu by B.C. Goodman as we watched a cut of the film together.” – Moira Tierney


Introduction (English)
Arindam Sen (Cinema Parenthèse)

- Down Claiborne
2018 | super 8 and 16mm to file | color | sound (eng with fr subs) | 51'00

WIELS auditorium
Sunday: 14.04.2019, 15:00-17:00
Entrance: 6/4€ (Reduction for students and unemployed)
Or included in exhibition ticket of WIELS
Facebook event:


WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre - Brussels, Belgium


Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 15:00 to Monday, April 15, 2019 - 14:55



Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 15:00 to Monday, April 15, 2019 - 14:55
  • Av. Van Volxemlaan 354
    1190   Brussels
    50° 49' 27.768" N, 4° 19' 31.8576" E