Black Celebration

Tony Cokes

1988 | 00:17:17 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: African-American, Dance, Interview, Performance, Politics, Race

Subtitled A Rebellion against the Commodity, this engaged reading of the urban black riots of the 1960s references Guy Debord’s Situationist text, “The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy,” Internationale Situationniste #10 (March 1966). Along with additional commentary adapted from Barbara Kruger and musicians Morrissey and Skinny Puppy, the text posits rioting as a refusal to participate in the logic of capital and an attempt to de-fetishize the commodity through theft and gift. Cokes asks, “How do people make history under conditions pre-established to dissuade them from intervening in it?” 

This title is also available on Tony Cokes Videoworks: Volume 1.

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Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001

 

Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001

 

 

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung