Relic 2

4K Video, 2019.

The third film in the series, ‘Relic 2’ forms part of Relic Traveller: Phase 2, a multi-disciplinary project by Larry Achiampong, which manifests in performance, audio, moving image and prose. Centred within themes related to Sanko-time, Relic Traveller takes place across various landscapes and locations; the project builds upon a postcolonial perspective informed by technology, agency and the body, and narratives of migration.

This speculative project considers the social and political climate of current times; the rise of nationalism within the global West and tensions surrounding moments such as the United Kingdom’s leave ‘Brexit’ vote in 2016. Meanwhile, the African Union’s passport programme (also established in 2016) points toward the potential opening of boarders across a unified African continent in the future. With these instances, the Relic Traveller series imagines a future in which the global West devolves to point of decline, whilst the African Union ascends into prosperity, harmony, independence and, responsibility in shaping the future of the planet.

At this unspecified point in time amongst an ambitious set of new initiatives, the African Union create the ‘Relic Travellers’ Alliance’, a programme that equips Relic Travellers with space-travelling-technology for the sole purpose of venturing outside of the African Union to retrieve vocal information left by those whom had been historically oppressed as a result of political systems such as colonisation, capitalism and globalisation. These uncovered testimonies are collected and used as a basis for the African Union to responsibly govern the future informed by a bottom-up perspective.

Poetically emanating displacement in the Global West, Relic 2 begins at a long-aged, dilapidated communication site in Lincolnshire (UK). RAF Stenigot was a Second World War radar station (like the acoustic mirrors seen in ‘Relic 1’, both were part of the UK government’s ‘Chain Home’ programme), later fortified by NATO’s ACE high communication programme which involved adding four tropospheric scatter dishes.

Relic 2 continues to follow the traveller from Relic 1, bridging locations of technological, historical, social and political significance including RAF Stenigot (Lincolnshire, UK), Greenwich Foot Tunnel (London, UK), Congo Square and Bayou Sauvage, 9th Ward (New Orleans, USA). Supported by a harmonious, melancholic, synth-based score we hear once more from the Griot-like ‘Mother’ of the Relic Travellers’ Alliance (Relic 0), this time with a soliloquy relating the anthropocene with structures of imperialism.

Relic 2 is an artwork made possible with funding from Arts Council England.

© Larry Achiampong