Works > The Sound and the State

The Sound and the State

I was invited to the Document Human Rights film festival to present a new, ongoing work that combined personal essay with archival research into black and queer cultural history, as part of their focus on the filmmaker Marlon Riggs.

The Sound and the State looked at one particular thread I'd encountered while working at the George Padmore Institute - the mention of a young rapper named Silver Bullet who had created a song based on what was said when the police arrested his friends at Notting Hill Carnival. It was a very interesting and bizarre wormhole that led back to the film Robocop (1987), and one scene in particular where a police robot goes out of control, stating the title of Silver Bullet's track, "20 Seconds to Comply."

The Sound and the State explores surveillance, paranoia, state violence and the history of the black presence in urban spaces, with Silver Bullet's video the genesis of the enquiry.