Ephraim Asili, Fluid Frontiers (2015)
November 19, 2017
@ Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave, Buffalo, NY 14208 (map)
Free and open to the general public
With Ephraim Asili in person, and followed by a Q&A with the artist moderated by Max Anderson.
As part of To and From 1967: A Rebellion with Martin Sostre, Squeaky Wheel is excited to present an in-person screening with Hudson based filmmaker Ephraim Asili and his African Diaspora Series.
“In seven years, the filmmaker Ephraim Asili has completed a remarkable cycle of five films regarding his own relationship with the greater African diaspora. These films—Forged Ways (2011), American Hunger (2013), Many Thousands Gone (2015), Kindah (2016), and Fluid Frontiers (2017)—document not only his travels across Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, and the United States, but also a personal search for the connections of cultures across space and time. American Hunger, for example, features images of a vandalized statue of Ghana’s first prime minister Kwame Nkrumah accompanied by recordings of his speeches in which he declares his hope for Ghana’s future. Asili cuts from this lost vision of accomplishment and idealism to a shot of a woman on the street in Ghana holding a mass-produced bag bearing Barack Obama’s face, bringing together the legacy of US imperialism and the complicated feelings that accompanied the first black president of the United States. With its observational 16mm cinematography and its precise use of sound and music, Asili’s work is critical and speculative, listening intently to the resonances of words and gestures that span centuries and oceans.” Ekrem Serdar, Brooklyn Rail.
2011 | 15min | Ethiopia / United States
Filmed on location in Harlem (NY) and Ethiopia, Forged Ways oscillates between the first person account of a filmmaker, a man navigating the streets of Harlem, and the day to day life in the cities and villages of Ethiopia.
2013 | 19min | Ghana / United States
Oscillating between a street festival in Philadelphia, the slave forts and capitol city of Ghana, and the New Jersey shore, American Hunger explores the relationship between personal experience and collective histories. American fantasies confront African realities. African realities confront America fantasies.
Many Thousands Gone
2015 | 8min | Brazil / United States
Filmed on location in Salvador, Brazil (the last city in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery) and Harlem, NY ( an international stronghold of the African Diaspora), Many Thousands Gone draws parallels between a summer afternoon on the streets of the two cities. A silent version of the film was given to jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee to use an interpretive score. The final film is the combination of the images and McPhee’s real time “sight reading” of the score.
2016 | 00:12:00 | Jamaica / United States
Kindah was shot in Hudson, NY and Accompong, Jamaica. Accompong was founded in 1739 after rebel slaves and their descendants fought a protracted war with the British leading to the establishment of a treaty between the two sides. The treaty signed under British governor Edward Trelawny granted Cudjoe’s Maroons 1,500 acres of land between their strongholds of Trelawny Town and Accompong in the Cockpits. Cudjoe, a leader of the Maroons, is said to have united them in their fight for autonomy under the Kindah Tree — a large, ancient mango tree that still stands to this day. The tree symbolizes the kinship of the community on its common land.
2017 | 00:23:00 | Canada / United States
Fluid Frontiers is the fifth and final film in an ongoing series of films exploring Asili’s personal relationship to the African Diaspora. Shot along the Detroit River, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between concepts of resistance and liberation exemplified by the Underground Railroad, Broadside Press, and artworks of local Detroit Artists. All of the poems are read from original copies of Broadside Press publications by natives of the Detroit Windsor region and were shot without rehearsal.
Ephraim Asili is a Filmmaker, DJ, and Traveler whose work focuses on the African diaspora as a cultural force. His films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, NY; Toronto International Film Festival, Canada; Ann Arbor Film Festival, MI; San Francisco International Film Festival, CA; Milano Film Festival, Italy; International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands; MoMA PS1, NY; LAMOCA, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; and the Whitney Museum, NY. As a DJ, Asili can be heard on his radio program In The Cut on WGXC, or live at his monthly dance party Botanica. Asili currently resides in Hudson, NY, and is a Professor in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College.