Akeroyd Collection


Nikita Gale, HOME, 2022

Home is an approximately three-minute excerpt from The Wiz, a 1978 musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, (1900) that features an all-Black cast, including Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross. While in the original clip, Diana Ross, as Dorothy, sings Home directly to camera, in Gale’s version, her face is obscured by a spotlight and the audio has been removed. Various characters can be seen receding into the background on either side of Ross, as they are evoked like spectral, passing memories. In the original scene, the camera zooms in on Ross’s face in a single-take shot. Her tears are visible as she laments about her home. By obscuring these affective cinematic registers and denying the viewer access to the very thing that denotes the pain of her experience, Gale intensifies our understanding of cinematic construction and the way it also constructs a sense of subjecthood, too. The silent, opaque image is not rendered illegible but instead points toward a different register entirely. Gale’s handheld spotlight becomes a secondary performance that traces and simultaneously erases Ross’s movement through the compounding effect of two techniques by which performances are framed – video projection and spotlight. The cinematic gaze is attuned differently and the affective tools of image production and storytelling are called into question. This operates as a refusal of these techniques, which in turn opens other types of engagement. Here silence is not seen as music’s opposite but as a different register of noise. Noise as containing all information and not the codified construction of meaning. Obfuscation is not seen as the enemy of legibility but as a more complex field of understanding. These are small acts of refusal that open up rather than shut down meaning, an emancipatory gesture toward visibility that is distinct from transparency – itself a neoliberal virtue of dominance and oppression.

Medium4k colour video
Duration3 minutes 13 seconds
Editionof 3 of + 2 APs