Akeroyd Collection


Luke Willis Thompson, _Human, 2018

_Human is a cinematic portrait and subjective historiography of another artist’s work. The object of attention, seen through a silent 35mm colour film, is the sculpture My Mother. My Father. My sister. My Brother (1996-7), by artist British artist Donald G. Rodney. This work is comprized of his skin, collected by the artist from his bed while in hospital recovering from one of many operations to combat sickle cell anaemia, an inherited disease that affects people of African, Caribbean, Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian ancestry. Using dressmaking pins, and scotch tape, he crafted an architectural model of a house that could fit in the palm of his hand. This would be Donald G. Rodney’s last work as he died from a pulmonary embolism soon after. Thompson revisits Rodney’s work in this intimate film that treats bodily architecture with the reverence of a grand cathedral. Thompson himself lives with a 50% chance of inheriting a genetic disorder, Huntington’s Disease, from his mother. As part of the film-making process, he gave his DNA data to a genetic scientist to read cold which he in turn used as a formula for the editing process of the film strip. In this way, Thompson and Rodney’s lives, and histories are somehow structurally and poetically intertwined within the physicality of a single film strip. This allows Thompson to create an intersection of themes that are specific to individuals but simultaneously collectivise vulnerable bodies. Ideas of Black and indigenous ontologies, that occur in both their practices are literally combined to create a meditative reflection on the legacies of race and genetic inheritance, chance and mortality. _Human forms part of a loosely related body of works that have been presented together in the past; Autoportrait (2017), the silent black-and-white 35mm film of Diamond Reynolds, the partner of Philando Castile who was killed by police in Minnesota during a traffic stop, and Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries (2016), a two-part black-and-white 16mm film shot of two black Londoners whose maternal relatives were killed by British police. Together, and in each case individually, these films highlight Thompson’s deep engagement with the history and current reality of institutional violence and racial injustice. Considering personal experience, inherited prejudice, and global political situations, Thompson poetically and carefully reveals the workings of power and how its implementation impacts people of colour everywhere.

Medium35mm film, color, silent, 9’ 30’’@ 24fps
Duration9 minutes 50 seconds
Editionof 3 + 1 AP