A cosmic exploration of modernity, popular culture and African and Afro-Diasporic experience.
Throughout his expansive four-part video work Africa Is The Future, Franco-Congolese artist Nicolas Premier moves through quotidian human experience, skimming the flattened surface of pop culture and soars into the cosmos.
Across four evocative video collages he explores the links between Africa, Europe and The Americas, links that stretch from the present far into the past, envisioning a future shaped by African and Afro-Diasporic experience. He underpins these images with an epic score, which sees Premier weaving together bittersweet instrumentation with evocative vocal samples.
In the fourth and final movement, we arrive at a point unfixed in time from which we can observe present crises unfolding as the result of centuries of colonialism, capitalism, slavery and imperialism, while at the same time look back to where these crises have come from and forward to where they might take us.
The tetralogy loosely follows the cycle of the Kongo cosmogram, an ancient religious symbol central to the Bakongo culture. Beginning in 1532 with the story of the Portuguese Misericordia, a ship that mysteriously disappeared at sea following a Kongolese slave rebellion, Premier follows the ripples of this event.
Following them across the blue waters of the Atlantic ocean to the undulating solar flares on the surface of the sun, the artist combines snippets of African and American pop culture with his own footage and images of the cosmos to sketch out a universe that explodes out from this violent act of emancipation.
The image of a man rowing slowly across the surface of the earth encapsulates the micro and macro scale of Premier’s journey, which, in adherence to the Kongo cosmogram, is cyclical. As he asserts in the first movement of the work, “The future is already there / It always has been / It precedes and begets / the reality / Africa Is The Future”.
You can check out the first, second and third movements of Africa Is The Future at Nicolas Premier’s website. The work was made in collaboration with Mike Ladd, Kalaf Epalanga, Patrick Ayaman, Dullheaven, Aja Monet, Lou Grange, Ambroise Mendy, Ana Camara Djalo, Jeanne Badiane, Grace Kanda, Alexis Baginama, Saïda Chabani, Yesni Greidanus, Arnaud Makunga, Awa Gomes, Adama Gomes, Koffi Konadu, Suely Lopes, Gildo, Eric Abrogoua, Yann Gaël, Maïla Mendy, Benoit Tardif, Mathilde Chapuis, Patricia Bazula, Rosa Gabbert, Paul Thomas, Nicolas Cifuentes, Margaux Escourolle, Antonin Legrand and Collin Lefebvre.
For more information about Nicolas Premier and his work you can follow him on Instagram.