Lisson Gallery

'John Akomfrah: Arcadia' at The Box, Plymouth, UK

1 November 2023

From 30 November 2023, the UK premiere of a major new multi-screen film commission by visionary artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.

With beautiful visuals of landscapes from across the globe, underwater footage and a haunting soundtrack, Arcadia reflects on ‘The Columbian Exchange’ – the widespread transfer of plants, animals, precious metals, commodities, populations, technology, diseases and ideas between the Americas, Afro-Eurasia and Europe – the ‘New World’ and the ‘Old World’ – from the 1400s onwards.

The film is presented across five screens in the shape of a cross with a multi-layered narrative featuring storms, restless seas, vast skies, beaches, ice fields, mountains, rivers and forests.

We see how miraculous Earth is, while the epic scenery and landscapes are ‘interrupted’ by images of cargo, symbols of trade, ageing boat hulks, microbes, cells and people suffering from smallpox. They combine to evoke ideas of migration, journeys, colonial encounters, how things travel and spread, growth and decay.

Find further information via The Box.

Image: John Akomfrah, Arcadia (2023), Five channel HD Video, colour, black and white, 15.1 surround sound, 58 minutes 38 seconds © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy Lisson Gallery

'John Akomfrah: Arcadia' at The Box, Plymouth, UK
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