Relic Traveller: Phase 2

Multi Disciplinary Project, 2018 - 19

Relic Traveller: Phase 2, is the continuation of a multi-disciplinary project, 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 continues to build upon a postcolonial perspective informed by technology, agency and the body, and narratives of migration.

This speculative project continues to consider the social and political climate of recent 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) moves towards the opening of boarders across a unified African continent. The Relic Traveller series aims to imagine a future in which the global West devolves to a point of decline. In this future the African Union ascends into a prosperous, and harmonious collective, free of Western interference and reliance, to take full responsibility in shaping the future of the planet.

At this unspecified point in time, 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 testimonies left by ancestors oppressed because of colonisation, capitalism, and globalisation. These uncovered ‘relics’ are collected and used as a basis for the African Union to responsibly govern the future, informed by a grass roots 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's first early warning radar network code named ‘Chain Home’), later fortified by NATO’s ACE high communication programme which involved adding four tropospheric scatter dishes. This film acts as a bridge from Relic 1, featuring 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). The synth-based score revisits the Griot-like ‘Mother’ of the Relic Travellers’ Alliance from Relic 0, this time with a soliloquy relating the Anthropocene with structures of imperialism.

The audio-visual performance, Pixel Perpetual creates another link between Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Relic Traveller projects. Responding to themes of otherness, violence and revolution, the work creates a landscape fused with references to science fiction, video games, and past-future narratives.

Detailing the struggles of a migrant worker as they try to make a life in a hostile, alien environment, Relic 3 encompasses aural tales of sexual manipulation, violence and exploitation whilst visually marrying impactful vistas from the abandoned  Cliftonville Lido (Margate, UK), Greenwich Foot Tunnel (London, UK) and Wanstead Flats (London, UK). 

Phase 2 also features a series of three Pan African Flags. These flags are symbolic of community, motion (technology and the speed of darkness)and squadron. The flags embody icons which move towards unity and equilibrium. The work does not frame Pan African Futurism as a utopian vision of the African continent, but aims to consider aspects of responsibility in relation to the hidden tremors of history.

© Photos by Natalia Queirolo, Anne Duffau, Joel Chan, Stephen White & Tobias Wooton

Relic Traveller: Phase 2, produced with help from Arts Council England supported by Frieze Sculpture, Studio RCA & Whitechapel Gallery