Arthur Jafa

Dreams are Colder than Death

A landmark film on black life - a poetic filmic constellation of meditations, fragments and interviews on what it means to be black in America in the 21st century, from one of its great cinematographers.

 

Dreams are Colder than Death     Dir: Arthur Jafa, USA, 2014, 52 mins

 

What we wrote about it at the time: A landmark film on black life - a poetic filmic constellation of meditations, fragments and interviews on what it means to be black in America in the 21st century, from one of its great cinematographers. A UK premiere.

 

Using a range of tactics that resist the white cinematic gaze, Arthur Jafa's most recent film asks what it means to be black in America in the 21st century. Grounded not in sequence but in the interrelation of a constellation of voices, bodies and images, the film maps out black relationships with early and frequent death, with violence, with fantasy, with love and with memory, assembled from interviews and footage of (amongst others) artists Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu, filmmaker Charles Burnett, scholars Hortense Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, dancers Portia Jordan and Storyboard P, poet Fred Moten, and of everyday black life. 

 

AJ was co-Producer and DOP on Daughters of the Dust, a landmark in Black cinema. Presentations on his APEX project - a possibly un-filmable black Sci-Fi epic – are maybe best understood as a new a-cinematic artform in themselves.  He is an incessant coiner of concepts – ask him what he means by stereoscopic cognition, abnormativity, sub-vocal speech or Black visual intonation…