John Akomfrah

“Vertigo Sea” Video installation

For some month ago I went to Nikolaj Kunsthal for one reason; I wanted to see John Akomfrah’s art movie about the British culture theorist Stuart Hall.
I expected the movie to be artistic and inspiring. I wasn’t sure about the story or theme, but it was not a limited base that had attended my interest. I got the inspiration from two of my friends who had recommended me to see the movie a long time ago. One of them is a jazz musician and the other an art photographer, in light of their professions, I took their advice seriously, and I arrived Nikolaj with an open mind.

Nikolaj Kunsthal is a former church in the middle of the old part of Copenhagen. They are known for contemporary art exhibitions of different kind; installations, performances, painting, and video art.

John Akomfrah (1957 Accra, Ghana) London-based video artist /director is invited to show some of his most famous works. He is the principal artist for this exhibition.

When I read the text about John Akomfrah in the official brochure, I came across a new word which describes his style in general very well: Essayistic tableaux
I just had a conversation with Christina (a friend and rhetoric) about writing an essay, where we talked about the ability to use any personal experiences and thought to angle the content in an essay.
It makes me happy to discover that an essay can be visual, and that is what it is.

When I saw ” The Stuart Hall Project” the sound was a mesh in fact of the equipment and acoustics, so I didn’t get all the points from the speak, but, in the end, I had a perception of Stuart Hall’s life in pictures and music – very poetic.

John Akomfrah’s montage style allows him to jump in time, space and motives.
It is the sequence of the entire edited material combined with the sound that makes the spirit and magical moments.

The footage comes from different sources; private recording of Stuart Hall, recordings made by John Akomfrah and as a leading public intellectual in Britan for decades, BBC Archive had been helpfull with archive material with or about Stuart Hall.

Cao Fei: Whose Utopia

The New Human: You and I in a Global Wonderland
Moderna Museet Malmø 14.3 – 18.10 2015

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At the exhibition, one of the video installations took my attention. The installation called “Whose Utopia – My future is not a dream” made by Cao Fei, a Chinese artist in 2006.
You see an unusual and poetic choreography dance apparently performed by workers. The music is slowly and melancholic, you also hear a quick clicking sound that refer to mechanical factory sounds. The whole scenario takes place at one of OSRAM’s light bulb factories in China.

I like the contrast between the poetic and the mechanical – between man and industry. It provides a different perception of time.
This video reminds me of Wim Wenders film about choreographer Pina Bausch.
Whose Utopia (Cao Fei, 2006)