supported program: “A Cloud of Hope” by Steve Fagin

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A Cloud of Hope is a feature length film, developed in conversation and funded in part by the haudenschild Garage, that wishes to address the hopes/dreams, actualization, and eventualities of the African Independence Movements of the 60s.

The project will take three countries as case studies. The first is Guinea, a French Colony, which was the only country in West Africa to declare independence. The other twelve voted for a common wealth relation to France. One of the main elements utilized by the newly independent Guinea at forming solidarity was through the initiation of major cultural initiatives. As in a country I have previously explored, Cuba, in my feature length film, Tropicola. I will examine the role of popular music in the construction in the evolving political scene in emergent independent Guinea.

The second of my examples will be Nigeria, a former British Colony that in the aftermath of independence went through a great ethnic divide ending up in Civil War and the secession of Biafra. This conflict will be explored through the Nigerian and then Biafran middleweight boxing champion, Dick Tiger. Through this case study I will try to examine the role of ethnic conflict in an emerging nation.

My third example will focus on the former Belgian colony, the Congo. Subject of the wonderful novel about colonization by Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, and the journalistic coverage of the Lumumba moment in the Congo by Polish correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinkski. This section will focus on the European imagination of Africa. – By

About Steve Fagin

Steve Fagin (stevefagin.net) is Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, and has produced a series of feature length videos including The Amazing Voyage of Gustave Flaubert and Raymond Roussel, The Machine That Killed Bad People and TropiCola. These films have been featured prominently at museums, international film festivals, art biennials and have been screened on Bravo International in Latin America, Canal + in Europe and PBS in the United States. His work has had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and is the subject of a book from Duke University Press, Talkin’ With Your Mouth Full: Conversations with the Videos of Steve Fagin. The work has been presented at both the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in many contexts including both of their summary shows of the essential art of the twentieth century. From 2005-2009 he worked as Creative Consultant for the haudenschild Garage and Commissioning Editor of the hG, Spare Parts projects. The Last Book, an hG, Spare Parts project, was conceived and directed by him. Currently he is working on a feature film, A Cloud of Hope, and on a series of “smart phone pieces”, both as Commissioning Editor and as one of the artists for LACMA.