27-10-2017 | Journal spot: ‘Purple’ by John Akomfrah, Curve Gallery at Barbican
‘Purple’ is a film which explores the Anthropocene – ‘the era in which humans’ impact on Earth is the dominant influence on the changing environment.’
The viewer is confronted with six screens of captivating footage, which juxtapose serene imagery of nature and landscapes from around the world, with both chaotic and intimate scenes of human activity. The film hurls the viewer around scenes of historic conflict, car crash dummy tests, and screaming concertgoers, to a simple song recital within a family home.
Akomfrah’s film purposefully presents the ‘scarring’ of nature as a result of human life with piercing shots of electricity pylons and sprawls of waste. The later chapters of the film demonstrate the well-known consequences of the ‘Anthropocene’ era with dramatic scenes relating to the impacts of climate change.
John Akomfrah is a British artist and filmmaker who is known for his engaging multi-layered film compositions, splicing archival footage with beautifully shot footage of his own. His previous films are characterized by themes including migration, memory, identity and race.