DIABOLICAL
ARCHITECTURES

OF

COLONIALISM


A FILM BY MICHAEL SALU

A LONE SPECTRE DRAGS THEIR INJURED BODY ACROSS A BARREN LANDSCAPE DECIMATED BY NUMEROUS FORMS OF EXTRACTION.

WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?





Diabolical Architectures of Colonialism (2023), a research-based, environmentally-focused film, is a durational, allegorical response to the voices, cultures and histories absent from data critically analysed in the Cecil Rhodes archive (held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford) from times during the Kimberley diamond rush (1871), South African gold rushes (1873-1886), and African expansion as a result of British, German, and Portuguese imperialism.

A speculative invocation of awkward spectres encapsulating both the injured and the haunted injurious bodies of colonial legacy renders the negative spaces of extraction. Inspired in part by The Divine Comedy, speaking uncomfortably to the temporal and psychological relentlessness of colonialism, this film peeks at the haunted underside of perfect digital utopias, as the capture of land and resources still shapes today’s global economic disparities and fantasies of interplanetary colonisation. Accompanied by slowly building subterranean sound evoking material earth, an unknown narrator offers poetic musings on these absences integral to the current economic order. 

Created almost entirely in Unity 3D, the game engine software, this film demands the viewer to stay with its temporal conceit, as it conceptually engages the legacies of time, labour, psychological, material, and climate decimation in colonialism's afterlives, examining how one's cultural history and current reality are embedded and continued within these evasive bureaucratic languages, ledgers, and legacies.  




What is the consequence of an economic system that stands on these violent legacies of extraction? 

DOAC self-referentially asks whether emotional resonance is possible in imagined virtual futures and digital filmmaking powered by energy-intensive GPUs often using rare metals. It focuses on the complications of the present moment when more energy is required for more innovation, to an end we are not yet sure of, where often invisible limping spectres across time and space, still communicate something important to us.

Diabolical Architectures of Colonialism has been created by Michael Salu as part of Planetary Portals, a research project and collective with Kathryn Yusoff, Kerry Holden, and Casper Laing Ebbensgaard of Queen Mary University and the University of East Anglia respectively.









CREDITS


Directed, written, produced, animated, designed,
edited and graded by

Michael Salu

Cinematography by
Michael Salu

Narrated by
Michael Salu

Sound design and score by
Kyprian Rainey

Runtime: 42 minutes




SCREENINGS & EVENTS

PLANETARY PORTALS: DIAMOND POWER

Transmediale, February 2023, Akademie der Kunst

With Casper Laing Ebbensgaard, Kathryn Yusoff, Kerry Holden, Michael Salu (DAOC work in progress)

RED EARTH / PLANETARY PORTALS

Book launch, performances and screenings
Peckham Hills, December 8 2023


ABOUT THE DIRECTOR



Michael Salu is a British-born Nigerian writer, artist, filmmaker, scholar, editor and creative strategist with a strongly interdisciplinary practice. His written work has appeared in literary journals, magazines, art and academic publications, and as an artist, he has exhibited internationally. He runs House of Thought, an artistic research practice and consultancy focusing on bridging creative, critical thinking and technology and is part of Planetary Portals, a research collective. His book, Red Earth, was published by Calamari Archive (Press) in October 2023.


      Find out more about the Planetary Portals collective and project here

      Supported by Queen Mary University, London and University of East Anglia


      For more information contact: business@houseofthought.io