Akeroyd Collection


James Richards, Qualities of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold, 2022

A series of distinct visual and sonic phrases make up Qualities of Life: Living in the Radiant Cold. Footage centres on entering and worming through various internal infrastructures of either the body or the built environment. Like an endoscopic violation, this film maps interiors such as the throat, the intestine, the complex structures of a beehive, a sewer system and more. At times beautiful, at times abject, the conflation between the body and building, between public and private, between hygiene and contagion, growth, and decay, compiles the stuff of life into a poetic and striking journey through materials and their trace on the body and the world. Jumping between the macro and the micro, the film’s accompanying soundtrack gathers field recordings, music and percussive sounds of the body, instruments, and nature, and combines this with sampled music and poetic stanzas often sung in lament. Digital manipulation of the audio and visual material lends a pulsing, visceral quality to the viewing experience. Images morph from one source to another, not hiding the digital manipulation that causes the effect. We see MRI scans in similarly fluid shape-shifting sequences, taken from the archive of Horst Ademeit, whose obsessions lay with the detrimental impact of radiations on his body and his surroundings. Perhaps similarly, the impact of visual noise in the media and internet is counter-mapped here. Nothing is stable, everything collides, burns, and melts into everything else. The definable borders of objects, images, sounds, and meanings blur and dissolve with porousness and contagion. While otherwise surrealist and hallucinatory, there is a moment of coherence when a young boy offers an articulate analysis of ant colonies and the interpolation of genders between tribes; a further erosion of binary distinctions occurring at the social, infrastructural, and bodily level at once.

MediumDigital video, colour, sound
Duration17 minutes
Editionof 6 + 3 APs