By Any Means: Screening Programme
Curated by Gray Wielebinski and Cairo Clarke
I. Welcome II the Terrordome by Ngozi Onwurah, 1993
Running time, 94 min
1pm | 4pm
Ngozi Onwurah’s radically ahead-of-its-time Afrofuturist vision Welcome II the Terrordome made history as the first theatrically distributed British feature directed by a Black woman. Nevertheless, it was largely dismissed upon its release by critics unable to see the urgency in its evocation of a gritty dystopia in which Black people have been relegated to living in a slum called the Terrordome, where simmering racial tension threatens to boil over in the wake of a young boy’s death. Onwurah’s fusion of political commentary and genre spectacle looks positively prescient in her ability to build an entire universe that connects the history of slavery to present-day police brutality.
Welcome II the Terrordome is being presented as part of a screening programme co-curated by V.O artist in residence, Gray Wielebinski, and curator/writer, Cairo Clarke. The programme runs in tandem with By Any Means, a group exhibition that runs from 23 July through 26 August in the gallery.
Screenings will take place in the 5th floor project space at V.O Curations, 56 Conduit Street, W1S 2YZ. The room is accessible by stairs and lift, and to ensure the safety of our visitors, we are limiting screenings to a maximum of 10 people, and masks must be worn for the duration of the event.
Ngozi Onwurah is a British-Nigerian filmmaker, producer, lecturer, best known for her short autobiographical film The Body Beautiful and feature film Welcome II The Terrordome which was the first film directed by a black woman to get a theatrical release in the UK. Onwurah's work sets pace for anti-imperialist discourse in cinema by challenging the limitations of narrative and storytelling, pushing up against issues regarding race, diaspora and black women in particular.
Former V.O artist in residence, Gray Wielebinski, and curator/writer, Cairo Clarke, have programmed a series of film screenings in dialogue with By Any Means, an exhibition curated by Wielebinski that runs from 23 July until 26 August in the V.O gallery.
The conception of a screening programme nods to the legacy of the underground and adult film cultures in the neighbouring London area of Soho, allowing for the thinking through of opacity as a tool to maintain the existence of spaces and communities that are constantly being pushed out and destroyed by institutional, commercial and capital-orientated power structures, whilst also recognising the danger of opacity when used by those structures themselves.
The films speak to this further, each embodying their own visual, oral and written language, whilst also situating themselves in conversation with familiar types of cinema. In doing so, as a viewer, certain familiar codes carry us through: collage, translation, revenge fantasy and nature documentary, whilst the filmmakers and artists subvert and redirect us to engage critically with narrative and moving-image. Propaganda continues to be inherently interwoven into mainstream Hollywood cinema, obfuscating large power structures with white, cis, revenge-based narratives.
When revenge is individualised what happens to collective justice? Where does it sit in this dichotomy? How is it articulated and by whom? The films in this programme speak to all of these questions, arriving at no one answer, but rather, inviting us to take heed to the questions and articulations that arise in us and our relations to the world.
Screenings must be pre-booked, please visit www.vocurations.com for more information.
By Any Means, Screening Programme Schedule
I. Saturday 24 July - Welcome II the Terrordome by Ngozi Onwurah
Running time, 98 min
1pm | 4pm
II. Saturday 31 July - Terror Nullius by Soda Jerk
Running time, 54 min
1pm | 4pm
III. Saturday 7 August - Metamorphosis, Part 3: Emergence
Produced by The Institute of Queer Ecology
Commissioned by DIS
Running time, 15 min
Film will run on loop throughout the day
IV. Saturday 14 August - Duilian by Wu Tsang
Running time, 26 min
1pm | 4pm
Gray Wielebinski (b. 1991 Dallas, TX, USA) received a BA from Pomona College, Claremont CA, USA in 2014 before completing an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK in 2018. He lives and works in London and LA. In Wielebinski’s expansive practice, which incorporates video, performance, collage, installation and sculpture. he explores the intersections of mythology, identity, gender, nationhood and memory. Reconfiguring and transforming iconography and visual codes, their work seeks to navigate society’s frameworks and belief systems. Engaging directly with the contexts in which we live, Wielebinski reveals how narratives reflect and shape our identities. His work opens up the possibilities for a more inclusive storytelling, by reimagining dominant societal mythology. Recent exhibitions include Two Snakes, a solo show at 12.26 Gallery in Dallas, Texas (2020), Our Ashes Make Great Fertilizer at Public Gallery, London, (2020) Repurposed Textiles at Krefelder Kunstverein in Krefeld, DE (2020) and at Frieze London with Hales Gallery, London, where he currently has a solo show.
Cairo Clarke is a curator and writer whose work is informed by slowness. Her work centers on forms of knowledge production and dissemination that slip between the cracks, are formed on unstable ground and take on multiple temporalities. Cairo has worked closely with artists to develop and share instances of work across film, performance, printed matter and events as well as sharing self-led curatorial projects. In 2019 she launched SITE, a publication and curatorial project exploring alternative encounters with artist practice and the dissemination of research. Cairo is the 2020/21 Curatorial Fellow at LUX.