HERE IS THE IMAGINATION OF THE BLACK RADICAL
Contains flashing images
10min, 16mm and digital, 2020
Afrofuturism is communicated via the Bahamian people through Junkanoo, a form of carnival in the Bahamas. Originally celebrated by slaves who were given Christmas Day and Boxing Day off only, Junkanoo can be viewed as a form of resistance. We follow the ‘Shell Saxon Superstars’ as they prepare. A 1500-person-strong group, costume production is divided into smaller units or shacks. The Saxons come together in spectacular fashion to enact a politically motivated theme, asserting national pride or depicting other countries. We visit the shacks where the costumes are made to observe the craftsmanship and dedication required to win the parade and obtain ‘bragging rights’.
The soundtrack has many layers and is comprised mostly of samples. Like the 16mm film images, analogue sounds, (chiefly static and radio) are used to obscure a seemingly obtainable message. Too often Sun Ra’s ‘Space is the Place’ is co-opted to merely refer to space travel- bypassing its assertion of the power of Black culture. Actual space agency sounds - sounds which usually describe comets or space travel equipment like the Mars Rover- are juxtaposed with interviews with the Saxons. In so doing the work roots an Afrofuturist aesthetic with the Bahamian people.