This project by Kiluanji Kia Henda is a poetic journey into a moment in time and space, both utopian and dystopian: 1975 in Luanda, Angola’s capital. After a liberation war and the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, it is the year before Angola finally became independent from its colonizer. The film describes an choking condition from the perspective of a Portuguese individual who is about to leave the country where he lived his whole live and who contrary to the independent Angolans who lived a utopian moment, saw no future. But he also doesn’t know where to go. Inspired by the first chapter of the book of the Polish journalist and writer Rychard Kapuscinsky, “Another Day of Life – Angola 1975”, this film also transports the images of modernist architecture of Luanda into the past. At the start of the projection the narrator wakes up from a nightmare, only to see that reality is just as hopeless as his dream world. It is his last day in the city and he is hesitant to leave.
Oceans Apart is a multimedia presentation incorporating a two-part projected video and music from the new EP by Ghanaian-Canadian singer-songwriter Kae Sun, directed by Simon Rittmeier with Emeka Alams from Gold Coast Trading as the creative mind. The visual narrative examines notions of belonging and home through the personal and voyeuristic relationship of an asylum seeker and a young female student in a nondescript small town in Germany. Both film and EP explore the current social dilemma of displaced persons through the emotional, spiritual, and relational experience rather than the sociopolitical. For gallery presentations, Oceans Apart is presented as a split-screen projection (on two screens or two white walls). The screens portray the points of view of both protagonists. The point of view of each protagonist is accompanied by a song from the Oceans Apart EP. Videos and music are looped, and a listening station is set up, facilitating an exclusive listen to the full, unreleased EP. Music at the listening station is played via cassette tape. The video footage was captured on VHS and cell phone camera in Germany and the Ivory Coast. The total run time for the piece is approximately 10 minutes. Oceans Apart was conceived by long-time collaborators Kae Sun and Emeka Alams of Gold Coast Trading Company with the co-direction of filmmaker and visual artist Simon Rittmeier.
“Where are you?”.
The prevailing impulse in the experience of being alive is alienation, a sort of spiritual exile.
The desire for happiness is a desire for belonging, a return to eden if you will. Everything people have ever touched, every invention, every poem, song, every prayer ever uttered is haunted by this impulse. Of the two events that shape our existence, birth and death, the latter is the more mysterious, seemingly. The reality of death, the inevitability of it and the fact that it cannot be mediated, the fact that it escapes our capacity to reason with and through it heightens this alienation so that the desire for belonging extends past our immediate physical condition into other worlds we imagine through our creative, philosophical, political and religious endeavours. So the question of what you’ve done with your life becomes a question of what you’ve done with your exile. Oceans Apart is our way of examining this notion of exile using the very current social dilemma of displaced persons or those seeking a better situation, a better point of view, a better reference point for their lives and those of their loved ones.
We’re perhaps peeling back the layers a little bit and making this more about the spiritual and relational condition of not belonging and not so much the socio-political one, we hope that you could partner with us to achieve this goal or at best pose the question eloquently through this piece of ours.