Explore the 1:54 FORUM Film Programme

6–9 October 2016

As part of FORUM London 2016, this film programme explores a selection of contributions by contemporary African perspectives pioneering interdisciplinary artistic and cultural practices. The programme highlights how the deployment of new and innovative materials and technologies, as well as shifting cultural and social attitudes is affording alternative frameworks and understandings about contemporary experience, from educational models and street culture to collectively designing museums for African contexts. The programme further investigates the effects of such diversifying material cultures, taking stock of its global affects and traces in commerce, industrialisation and urban infrastructure.

FORUM Film will be screened in the FORUM space (Screening Room) daily 12:00 – 13:00 and in the East Wing, 11:00 – 19:00 (Sunday 11:00 – 18:00).

No booking is required.

Thursday, 6 October: PROFILE

Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, 2014
52 min
Courtesy of Show of Force
Famous for his vibrant reinterpretations of classical portraits featuring African-American men, New York-based painter Kehinde Wiley has turned the practice of portraiture on its head and in the process has taken the art world by storm. This documentary follows the artist as he steps out of his comfort zone to create a series of paintings of women for the first time. Kehinde casts his models on the streets of New York and then enlists Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy to create couture gowns for each woman. The film traces the artist’s process from concept to canvas as he reveals to us another side of black femininity.


Longinos Nagila
Chain Production, 2016
4 min 39
Courtesy of the artist and ARTLabAfrica
Exploring themes of industrialisation, mass production and rapid urbanisation, Chain Production highlights how a lack of infrastructure can push people to move to urban areas where they often end up producing what they cannot afford to consume.

Longinos Nagila
Without Prejudice, 2015
3 min 25
Courtesy of the artist and ARTLabAfrica
Without Prejudice explores the radical contrast between concepts of contemporary Western and traditional African beauty and design. The film examines the role of Africa and the Africa Rising narrative, whilst tacking themes of cross-cultural pollination and fusion.

Mohau Modisakeng
Inzilo, 2013
Digital video (Blu-ray), 5 min 57
Courtesy of the artist and Tyburn Gallery
With a title that refers to the idea of mourning or widowhood, Inzilo explores ideas of pain, rebirth and catharsis. Modisakeng uses his own body to perform a metaphor for the long and painful process of shedding the stifling bonds of collective trauma long carried. This image evokes the necessary but often slow process of healing in the South African context, where a history of violence and oppression must be worked through in order to make way for newness and hope.

Mohau Modisakeng
To Move Mountains, 2015
Single channel HD video, 3 min 36
Courtesy of the artist and Tyburn Gallery
Like Modisakeng’s photographic series Endabeni (2015), To Move Mountains was shot in Ndabeni, an area outside of Cape Town which is recognised as having been the city’s first segregated black township. In 1902, following an outbreak of bubonic plague, black residents were forcibly removed from the city of Cape Town by the British colonial government and housed in an isolation camp and field hospital on this site. Choosing the location of black asphalt mounds in what is now an industrial suburb for their bleak, post-apocalyptic look, the artist only later came to understand that the haunting quality of Ndabeni was in part due to its dark history. The film resonates with the brutality of this colonial past, presenting an ominous landscape of large black mountains which evoke the trauma and isolation once experienced there.

Zohra Opoku
3 min 30
Courtesy of the artist and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
WHO IS WEARING MY T-SHIRT, THE BILLBOARDPROJECT explores the effects of imported secondhand garments into Africa. Clothing design is complex: a patchwork of wisdom, ideologies and histories. Do our clothes make up our traditions and culture? If this is true, what happens to our identity when fashions change? As secondhand clothes from other cultures are increasingly embraced in Ghana, Opoku’s film addresses the cultural ramifications of shifting sensibilities in clothing and dress. The film visits five iterations installed in different sites around Accra. Each work features a distinct composition from unwanted garments from the Accra market.

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum
To the Moon, 2014
Single channel stop-motion animation, 2 min
Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary
To the Moon pays homage to George Méliès’s pioneering 1902 work, A Trip to the Moon. The stilt-walker is a nod to the Dogon people of Mali, whose cosmological history is full of mysterious references to ‘star people’. Sunstrum imagines the stilt-walker as both an earthly attempt at getting closer to the stars as well as a fantastical imagining of a figure mapping out the stars in the night sky. The stop-motion animation makes further reference to Muybridge’s work and comprises footage from a BBC series on ‘African innovation’.

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum
The Moon, The Star, 2011
Single channel stop-motion animation, 2 min
Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary
Using animation, Sunstrum allude to mythological musings on the beginning of time, geological speculations of the Earth’s structure, theories on the nature of the universe, and, most recently, 18th-century European Romanticist landscape painting. Her drawings, narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient, shift between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean and cosmological landscapes.

Jackie Karuti, There Are Worlds Out There They Never Told You About, (film still), 2016, 3 min 31. Courtesy of Circle Art Gallery
Jackie Karuti, There Are Worlds Out There They Never Told You About, (film still), 2016, 3 min 31. Courtesy of Circle Art Gallery

Jackie Karuti
There Are Worlds Out There They Never Told You About, 2016
3 min 31, edition 3/5
Courtesy of Circle Art Gallery
Karuti elaborately introduces us to her imagined worlds seemingly set in a galactic and underwater universe. The video depicts evidence of other worlds in space, among the stars and perhaps even in the ocean. There exists a myth about an underwater civilization descended from slaves thrown overboard during the middle passage from Africa to the Americas.

Where do people who die away from ‘home’ go? What would it mean to migrate or run away to worlds that exist in our imagination? And if the present exists in a way that is not necessarily one in which you have agency, can you perhaps fly away to another time and space?

Maurice Mbikayi
Dots & Dashes, 2016
6 min
Courtesy of the artist and Officine dell’Immagine
Dots & Dashes deals with the notion of virtual identities as well as a technological existential crisis. Focusing on the issue of e-waste deposited in Africa, the video engages the issue of the technologically enslaved body in consumer culture. ‘Enslavement’ carries a double bind since it frames the subjugation of the black African body in the context of slave labour, whether applied to the mining of resources or the collection of e-waste.

Maurice Mbikayi
Web Jacket, 2015
9 min
Courtesy of the artist and Officine dell’Immagine
The artist jumps, dances, shakes and screams as if to escape a straitjacket made of computer keys, cables, belts and used clothes. Web Jacket is representative of a digitally enslaved body who has embraced the internet – a kind of ‘permanency’ in the virtual world, while still offline. Inspired by the form of the straitjacket, Mbikayi relates the film to a ‘schizophrenic personality’ that comes with plugging into the virtual world on a daily basis.

Like many people, I am anxious not to miss out on news, updates and fashions, and so feel the need to ‘permanently’ stay online through a cell phone, which qualifies me as a web addict!

Maurice Mbikayi, Web Jacket (film still), 2015, 9 min. Courtesy of the artist and Officine dell’Immagine
Maurice Mbikayi, Web Jacket (film still), 2015, 9 min. Courtesy of the artist and Officine dell’Immagine


Afripedia: Senegal and Ghana, 2014
2 videos of 28 min 30 each
Courtesy of Stocktown Films

Here we meet fashion designer Selly Raby Kane sculpting the digital image of a future alien city in an old railway station, the photographer Omar Victor Diop, whose portraits reimagine Hollywood’s most iconic images with a Senegalese twist, and dancer Khoudia Roodia, who is organising and building for a future where Africa dominates street dance.

Meet the outspoken and andogynous music star Wiyaala, the exciting trickbikers Bikelordz, whose BMX skills and flamboyant style have taken neighbourhoods by storm, and artist Serge Attukwei Clottey, who highlights environmental issues through street performances as his alter ego ‘Afrogallonism’ – the modern water warrior.

Afripedia is a new five-part documentary series about the generation of rising African creative talents that are challenging all preconceptions and stereotypes. Stocktown Films presents an interlinked visual mixtape of today’s most interesting emerging visual artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, musicians, photographers and cultural activists from Africa’s biggest metropolises.

Afripedia: Senegal (film still, Omar Victor Diop), 2014, 28 min 30. Courtesy of Stocktown Films
Afripedia: Senegal (film still, Omar Victor Diop), 2014, 28 min 30. Courtesy of Stocktown Films


Rashid Ali and Andrew Cross
Mogadishu, Lost Moderns (1 & 2), 2013
2 videos of 13 min each
Courtesy of Rashid Ali Architects and Andrew Cross
Mogadishu: Lost Moderns is a collaborative project between architect Rashid Ali and visual artist Andrew Cross. Exhibited at The Mosaic Rooms and Dak’Art in 2014, their project explores Mogadishu through its architecture and urban environment, narrating the story of Somalia’s journey from traditional African nation to emergent independent state via colonisation and post-colonialism. With sequences ranging from a view of the city skyline, to traffic along the busy major thoroughfares, the project reflects on Mogadishu’s transformation under Italian colonisation, from a compact traditional Arab-style city into a cosmopolitan, modern African city at the beginning of the 20th century.

Nana Oforiatta Ayim
Agbako: Untold, 2016
30 min
Courtesy of Nana Oforiatta Ayim and Gallery 1957
Ayim’s new film on how the histories of objects, collected in a moving museum that is traveling Ghana, tell the untold stories of Accra, its capital city.

MSF II, 2016
1 min
Courtesy of NLÉ
MFS II an improved, prefabricated and industrialised iteration of Makoko Floating School at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Just as our first prototype sourced local intelligence from the Makoko waterfront community, MFS II is an improved iteration designed to suit Venetian conditions and a wider waterfront population. Adapted for easy prefabrication and rapid assembly, it is more robustly engineered and affords a wide range of uses. MFS II was assembled in 10 days by 4 builders. It is mobile, deployable and ready to be reassembled at its next Waterfront.

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