Artist Rob Heppell reconstructs an urban war zone in the powerful animated video.
For the video for his track Bunker, Hyperdub affiliate Nazar has enlisted the talents of artist and animator Rob Heppell to reconstruct a critical event of politically-motivated violence during the nearly three decade-long civil war that took place in the producer’s native Angola.
“Nazar told me about a situation in Angola in 1992; after 17 years of the civil war with countless lives destroyed between warring factions”, says Heppell, who takes the 1992 Angola general election as the subject for the piece. Taking place in the capital, Luanda, the election devolved into a nationwide massacre, following accusations of the ruling party, the MPLA, rigging results.
“Two luxury hotels, the Tropico and the Turismo, usually the domain of international journalists in Luanda were the accommodation of the opposition parties staying in the capital for the election”, explains Heppell. “When the election erupted into violence, the people staying in the hotels were forced to barricade themselves in their rooms to hide from the government army squads sent to kill them. The song is written from the perspective of someone trying to survive inside the hotel.”
“Lebbeus Woods has written about the reconstruction of buildings damaged by war”, he continues, “how perhaps to demolish and rebuild would be to erase the memory of the action, and that architecture that preserves and highlights the scars of war might be a better way to proceed following a conflict.
“I wanted to make something that would bring this position into focus, through the buildings are woven military maps, paintings by exiled Angolan artist Viteix, Lusona patterns and models of period artefacts. Sections of the hotel are haunted by moments of violence and destruction; gunfire and collapsing areas looping endlessly through sections of the structure. In this piece all of the moments of action have been reconstructed into a spatiotemporal relationship that the presence of the viewer activates.”
Bunker is taken from Nazar’s debut album, Guerrilla, in which he reflects further on the effects the violence and horrors of the Angolan civil war have had on him and his family.
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