Considering music videos a serious class of cinematic power, this introductory program will present a festive evening of visual poems collectively sourced from members of the African Film Institute’s community of collaborators, supporters and partners. Across geography, the show will range from pioneering works in the genre as it relates to the realms of African life, traversing through its contemporary forms, and journeying into sonic cultures described from within and beyond the African future: works that——as described by anthropologist Natasha Nsabimana and scholar Adom Getachew—speculate the future from Through contemporary artistic and scientific productions that imagine realistic, mythical, and fantastic possibilities to emerge from the mysteries of the present.
Such cultural works provide playful and experimental laboratories for filmmakers, cinematographers and producers to explore aspects of their work that would have been impossible within the formal cinematic medium alone. Clearly, music videos are works of popular imaginations that chart artistic aspirations, while giving rhythm to societal changes, and recording the global order of technological transformations. As such, music videos help map aesthetic alliances as well as centers of cultural power and influences at their periphery.
Through the music video, the evening will showcase a number of pedagogical principles and expectations that will be explored over the years through the trans-institutional practices at the heart of the African Film Institute. These include tensions arising from competing commercial interests, social values, and global norms in the West, East, and Africa; questions about how to trace, but also overcome, history, genealogy, and knowledge amid absences and interludes as expressed through (film) festivals; the place of religion, the sacred and the profane in culture and society; political participation and freedom not to participate politically; gender-based violence; regional alliances; sponsorship of the state and institutions in the cinema; movement, displacement, borders and exile; the nation, states, land, and territory; Soil, water, environment, extraction, etc. In the face of such overwhelming circumstances, love, affection, and tenderness become forms of protest and tools of place-making and world-making, expressed in self-formation, sounds, lyrics, movement, dance, and more.
Finally, the trans-geographical cultural grouping that characterizes a few select music videos helps overcome the perpetual isolation to which African cinema is said to be subject, rightly or wrongly. Reducing this isolation involves insisting not only on an anti-nationalist approach, but also on cross-institutional practice where practitioners and collaborating institutions are present. Above all, the African Film Institute is an invitation to gather, learn, and practice in, with, and alongside African cinema, here in New York and beyond.
With featured videos Francis Pepe, Mabila Bell, Yvonne Shaka Shaka, Sekai, Davido, Zinga Helongwani, Angelique Kidjo, Libyan woman, Miriam Makeba, Moana plant, Monique Seca, Father of the houseand more.
Submitted by Christian Nyambita.
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