John Akomfrah



For his Curve commission, award-winning British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah has created an immersive, six-channel video installation which charts the incremental shifts in climate change across the planet and its effects on human communities, biodiversity and the wilderness.

The follow up to Vertigo Sea (2015), Akomfrah’s standout work at the 56th Venice Biennale, Purple forms the second chapter in a planned quartet of films addressing the aesthetics and politics of matter.

Symphonic in scale and divided into six interwoven movements, Akomfrah has combined hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to produce the video installation. Staged across a variety of disappearing ecological landscapes, each location prompts the viewer to meditate on the complex relationship between humans and the planet.

At a time when, according to the UN, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are at their highest levels in history, with people experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, including shifting weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather eventsPurple brings a multitude of ideas into conversation including mammalian extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming. 

Featuring an interview with the artist by writer and award-winning broadcaster, Ekow Eshun (whose work has featured in the Financial Times, The Guardian, the New Statesman, and Vogue).

Published on the occasion of, John Akomfrah: Purple at The Curve, Barbican Centre, London (6 October 2017 – 8 January 2018).

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