BLACK CODE / CODE NOIR

a critical reflection on two recent events: the murders of Michael Brown and Kajieme Powell by police officers in USA 2014


Archaeologically, the film argues that behind this present situation is a sedimented history of slavery, preserved by the Black Code laws of the colonies in the Americas. These codes have transformed into the algorithms that configure police Big Data and the necropolitical control of African Americans today. Yet how can we read this in the present? How can we unwrite the sorcery of this code as a hack? Through a historical détournement the film suggests the animist origins of the Haitian Revolution as the first instance of a hacking of the Black Code and thus as a past symbol for a future hope.

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CREDITS

Director: Louis Henderson
Producer: Olivier Marboeuf
Co-Producer: Le Fresnoy

SPECS

Year: 2015
Length: 21 min
Language: Kreol, English
Country: Haiti


During the Ferguson protests in 2014, King Britt produced an impromptu performance for Black Lives Matter, organized by Cheeraz Gorman in St Louis. The performance consisted of an improvised electronic score to footage from past protests around the incident.

As police violence against African-Americans has remained in the public eye internationally, King revisited the presentation last year for Afrofuturism Now! at WORM in Rotterdam, curated by Rasheedah Phillips of Afrofuturist Affair. Utilizing found sounds, dispatch recordings from police communication, and original sound design, MATATU is pleased to present King Britt, in the third improvisational performance of To Unprotect and Subserve.

It may be intense, sad, loving – all the emotions present within our beings. Witnessing in this curated environment without visuals, will no doubt enhance the gravity of the matter; a glimpse into the moments of dreadful experiences.


About Louis 

Louis Henderson is a filmmaker whose works investigate the connections between colonialism, technology, capitalism and history. Henderson graduated from London College of Communication with a first class BA honours in 2007, from Le Fresnoy – studio national des arts contemporains with a special mention of the jury in 2013, and in 2016 completed a Superior Diploma in Research in Art from the European School of Visual Arts. His research seeks to formulate an archaeological method within film practice reflecting on animistic materialism. Henderson has shown his work at places such as; Rotterdam International Film Festival, CPH:DOX, New York Film Festival, The Kiev Biennial 2015, The Centre Pompidou, Louisiana museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern and Tate Britain. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Barbara Aronofsky Latham Award for Emerging Video Artist at the 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival, USA, and a European Short Film Award - New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw, Poland. His work is distributed by Lux (UK) and Video Data Bank (USA).