Wildabout has picked for you audio visual masterpieces from the Infinite Mix that were really worth a look. These were the installations we stayed glued to for what felt like hours (but was probably minutes because the space is massive and makes you think you’ve fallen out of time), and came back to again and again and one more time just to make sure. If you haven’t been yet, you have until the 4th of December to get your fix.
Kahlil Joseph’s m.A.A.d
‘The warmth of our particular world, is beautiful, no matter how brief and breakable’ – Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a piece made in response to Kendrick Lamar’s album good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kahlil Joseph melds video and photographic footage bound with various Kendrick Lamar tracks to form a multi-layered portrait of the Afro-American community in Compton, L.A.
‘When the lights shut off and it’s my turn to settle down,
my main concern,
Promise that you will sing about me.’ – ‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst’ Kendrick Lamar
These lyrics evoke the condition of the black experience in the US and its proximity to death. The song resounding above triggering footage of police brutality and gang violence mark the fragility of black life.
‘Promise that you will sing about me.’
Remember me in joy not in sorrow. In this context, singing is reminiscent of church gospel and mourning, whilst it also suggests strength in finding peace within the suffering. Lamar has an incredible capacity to grasp hope in the most tragic of situations, in particular that of the constant devaluation of black lives in the US. For instance in ‘Alright’, chanting “We gonna be alright”, in defiance to a racist murderous police system.
This piece is an unapologetic celebration of joy and beauty within the Afro-American community. Incorporating old and new footage and recordings of everyday life, family gatherings, church, slow hours spent with friends, Joseph films the richness of those social spaces as well as documenting the diversity of black life of all backgrounds spanning generations. This work encompasses the beauty, the strength and the joy alongside the hardship, the violence and the deep sadness. What Kahlil Joseph and Kendrick Lamar are saying is very simple. In all their vibrancy and beauty, Black Lives Matter.
Cameron Jamie, Massage the History, 2007-9
A slow Sonic Youth ballad overlaps footage of young black men seductively dancing in quaint Alabama homes. The young muscular men brandish forearms covered in tattoos suggesting strong US values such as ‘Get money’, and ‘Fear God’. This is interjected by clips of people setting themselves and other objects aflame. An absurd sensual piece, Massage the History appears to distort preconceived notions of black masculinity. The ideas attached to the figure of the black male in white North American popular culture is that of the ‘other’: aggressive, threatening and overtly sexual. This erotic dance set in these old-fashioned prosperous homes seems to be mocking the societal role black men in the US are expected to perform. Here is a performance removed from imposed stereotypes, evoking voluptuousness for its own sake. Far from being fetishised by an other, these men are in utter control of their bodies, in fact they are ‘feeling themselves’.
Jeremy Deller and Cecilia Bengolea, Bom Bom’s Dream, 2016
This last pick is a psychedelic trip into the Jamaican dancehall scene. We follow Bom Bom, a Japanese dancehall superstar as she takes part in a local dancehall competition in Jamaica. Expect a lot of genius green screen, some chameleon with a very long tongue, impressive dance-offs and yeah, really great tunes.
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