Susan Thomson’s acclaimed trilogy, Ghost Empire, explores the impact of British colonialism on LGBT legislation across the globe.
The trilogy of films follows the legal challenges to these laws happening in three different continents, focusing on Northern Cyprus, Singapore and Belize. Currently half of the countries which criminalize homosexuality use British colonial laws from the 19th and early 20th century. The films explore the lingering of a ghost empire, which continues its rule across several nations. While the films deal with various colonial legacies, they also reflect on a wider question of time and the unusual time zones created by the existence of old laws within a contemporary setting.
You can watch Ghost Empire: Cyprus in its entirety below, and listen back to the discussion between Susan Thomson and artist/curator, Sunil Gupta at Iniva’s Stuart Hall Library, 2 November 2017.
Susan Thomson is a writer and filmmaker based in Dublin. Her artist book The Swimming Diaries is available from Artbook @ MoMA PS1, New York, the ibookstore and is held in the collection of the Live Art Development Agency, and she has written for many publications including Circa, the Times, Women’s News, GCN and JSTOR. She is currently directing a trilogy of documentary films on British postcolonial LGBT issues, Ghost Empire, funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. The trilogy has most recently been screened at Queer Asia Film Festival, SOAS, in 2017, and at Anthology Film Archives, New York City as an Altfest Special Program in 2016. She is currently working on a forthcoming novel which looks at the historical context of queer and postcolonial issues, exploring the trial for treason of Roger Casement.
Sunil Gupta is a photographer, artist, educator and curator currently enrolled in a doctoral programme at the University of Westminster. Educated at the Royal College of Art he has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. His latest book, “Delhi: Communities of Belonging” was published by The New Press, New York 2016. His latest show, “Sunil Gupta: In Pursuit of Love” is at Peltz, Birkbeck, University of London Sep-Oct 2017. His work has been seen in many important group shows including “Paris, Bombay, Delhi…” at the Pompidou Centre, Paris 2011 and at the Tate, Liverpool 2014. He is Visiting Professor at UCA, Farnham, and Visiting Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London and National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He is Lead Curator for the Houston Fotofest 2018.