This entry was posted on August 7th, 2017

Fluid Frontiers (Ephrain’s Asili, 2017)

by Morella Moret

70 kg, the second work in competition by Kevin J. Everson (this time codirecting with Claudrena N. Harold) presents us with a gym fight between two men: body against body, hand against hand. They join and squeeze bodies with intensity and passion, and for a moment it seems that this is a loving exchange with a dosage of violence, a sort of S&M session. In the end, when one of the bodies collapses, the other looks at it, worried, startled, tired. One of them has won but the feeling is that they both lose. This representation of confrontation and resistance, of push and pull can well be seen as a metaphoric unit for the struggle of the African American community, in its permanent tension, in constant resolution of internal conflicts, a fight that produces no winners.

Ephrain’s Asili’s Fluid Frontiers brings together elements of his intimate relationship with African American struggle, freedom and resistance to tell us the story of the people of Detroit. Through metaphors, poems and sensations, he exemplifies different moments of the long journey of the city and the African-American struggle that lead us to this day.

A pair of elderly mannequins greets us looking towards the camera, behind them there is a window that shows the sun falling towards the sunset, in a calm manner. It seems that they’re in peace. They open this film, showing us their town. We see the same sun, the same sea and moon that gave birth to different generations: slaves escaping cotton crops in the XIX century in the underground train, four little girls who died in a Baptist church in a Ku Klux Klan bombing in 1963, the afro-descendant liberation movement represented by different poets and activists that published in the Broadside Press founded by Dudley Randall in 1965.

All this we visualize and understand through simple and silent 16mm images; landscapes, artistic performances, anonymous narrators who read these poems of liberation and strength. A faceless voice accompanies us during the film telling us about her life as a slave in a past century Detroit, while young people relate poems of this same city in the sixties, representing the present of Detroit. In just a 23-minute film, Ephrain Asili succeeds in beautifully portraying the complex history of an entire city.

70 kg
Artist: Kevin J. Everson & Claudrena N. Harold
Country: USA
Format: 16mm > digital
Duration: 2.5 min
Year: 2017

Fluid Frontiers
Artist: Ephraim Asili
Country: USA
Format: 16mm
Duration: 23 min
Year: 2017