Film still of an old computer and glitched blue image breaking through
Courtesy of John Akomfrah and LUX, London.
Courtesy of The Otolith Group and LUX, London.

Otolith Group, Hydra Decapita + John Akomfrah/Black Audio Film Collective, The Last Angel of History

Online Screening

Thursday 23 April 2020, Online screening available for 24 hours.

Rhubaba is delighted to present an instalment of our Late Screenings programme courtesy of the LUX’s online player. This instalment has been selected by artist Natasha Ruwona as a follow-up to her performative lecture: Afro-Futurism and Spatial Practices and includes the Otolith Group’s Hydra Decapita and John Akomfrah’s The Last Angel of History.

This event is free and will be available to view via a link for 24 hours. Please email and we will send the details on how to access the films.

The Last Angel of History is one of the most influential video-essays of the 1990s, influencing filmmakers and inspiring conferences, novels and exhibitions. Black Audio Film Collective’s exploration of the chromatic possibilities of digital video is embedded within a mythology of the future that creates connections between black unpopular culture, outer space and the limits of the human condition. This cinematic essay posits science fiction (with tropes such as alien abduction, estrangement, and genetic engineering) as a metaphor for the Pan-African experience of forced displacement, cultural alienation, and otherness.

Hydra Decapita uses the imaginary world in the concept albums of Detroit based techno duo Drexciya to comment on globalisation, capitalism and climate change. ‘Drexciya’ is an underwater country populated by the unborn children of pregnant women thrown overboard during the middle-passage of slave ships across the Atlantic. In this world a new species has evolved through the children who survived, breathing and living underwater as they did in the womb. The constellation of historical and present day episodes within the essay explores the relationship between finance, death, abstraction and language.