Weaving a tapestry of moving images, John Akomfrah’s video essays address the questions of our time in an exhibition unlike any before at SAM. Future History brings together three examples of his art that convey a provocative vision of the past, present, and future. Akomfrah combines stunning scenery, archival footage, literary texts, and original interviews. His montages encourage new ways of looking at history and imagining the future.
SAM’s galleries are transformed into screening rooms and interactive spaces where Akomfrah’s work takes you from the 15th to the 21st century through three videos that must be seen on the big screen. The elaborate staging of Tropikos (36 min) conveys encounters between the British and people from Africa in the 16th century before the slave trade began. Vertigo Sea (48 min) presents three screens to lyrically explore the sea’s incomprehensible grandeur in our current moment on the verge of climate crisis. The Last Angel of History (45 min) follows a data thief’s voyage to find the keys to the future by listening to artists and explorers.
Ghana-born and London-based, Akomfrah uses the screen to introduce new explorations of the experiences of migrant diasporas across the globe, Afrofuturism, and visions of the natural world. Akomfrah’s videos have established him as a hugely respected artist and filmmaker with an evocative lens on humanity and the planet.
Support for this exhibition was made possible by
Contributors to the SAM Fund