A tender epiphany on how our environment gives and takes life.
Next month Brixton House will premiere Black Corporeal (Breathing by Numbers), a bold new commission by outstanding visual artist and South London poet Julianknxx, whose acclaimed work and voice evokes a profound perspective of the African Diasporic experience.
This powerful and visually stunning art film is an artistic response which highlights the disproportionate impact of air pollution in inner city London. Anchored by the voice of grassroots air pollution campaigner Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the film traces her ground-breaking journey to having air pollution officially listed as a cause of death of her 9-year-old daughter Ella, the first person in the world to have done this. Julianknxx’s film layers Adoo Kissi Debrah’s moving account with poetry, essay, documentary and music to create a potent social justice message to draw attention not only to her campaign but to the continuing stark realities of environmental poverty.
In London, 9,400 premature deaths are attributed to poor air quality and a cost of between £1.4 and £3.7 billion a year to the health service.
Source: Demyistifying air pollution in London report published in 2018 by London Councils represents London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London. London Councils is a cross-party organisation.
The special screenings will take place in the main theatre space at Brixton House from 5 – 7 October and will be shown each night alongside live performances in which Julianknxx and guests expose and respond to the multiple realities of Black life in London and their relationships with the built environment that holds them.
Julianknxx says: “This film explores the oppressive circumstances placed on Black folks and the working-class, who are often forced to live in congested and often highly polluted pockets of our city. However, rather than lament the weathering conditions and social pressures of Black experiences, I hope audiences will see that this film honours a culture of resilience and perseverance amongst those who have captured the cosmic and made a difference.”
Brixton Road was one of eight London locations where legal limits of toxic Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) were exceeded in 2017.
Source: LondonAir. Law requires hourly levels of toxic NO2 must not exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) more than 18 times annually. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/22/invisible-killer-how-one-girls-tragic-death-could-change-the-air-pollution-story
Breathing by Numbers was executive produced by Debo Amon alongside award-winning producer Tobi Kyeremateng who says: “Julian’s work is one that pushes the boundaries of artistic forms to allow different worlds of work to speak to one another. Breathing By Numbers is a piece of work I feel truly privileged to have been a part of, and one that speaks directly to the diasporic experiences of Black communities globally.”
The art film also features vocals by R&B artist Jacob Banks and is the third instalment in Julianknxx’s Black Corporeal film series – an investigation into the ways in which Black psyches are affected by their physical experiences – and follows Breathe and Between This Air.
Brixton House’s Artistic Director and Joint CEO Gbolahan Obisesan, says: “Julian approached Brixton House to support the making and realisation of Breathing by Numbers. The resulting piece is a heartfelt and cathartic piece of work. We hope it inspires others to lean more into our collective responsibility to make our world better and care more for one another. Brixton House continues to centre community cohesion, activism, and the enduring love for meaningful change through social action intentionally with creative talent.”
Ella Roberta was born and lived in Lewisham for the duration of her short life. She was nine years old when she died suddenly on 15 February 2013, of a fatal asthma attack. The pathologist who examined her said she had one of the worst cases ever recorded in the UK. On December 16th 2020, after a second inquest into her death, the Coroner concluded that her asthma had started due to the air pollution on the South Circular. Ella Roberta is the first person in the world to have air pollution on her death certificate.
Black Corporeal (Breathing By Numbers)
Screening and live performances
Wed 5 Oct – Film screening and site-specific live performance with Julianknxx, ACT 1, £21, £17 concessions.
Thu 6 Oct – Filming screening followed by Q&A with Julianknxx and invited guests, ACT 2, £15, £11 concessions.
Fri 7 Oct – Film screening followed by a live creative response event, ACT 3, £15, £11 concessions.
Booking Link – https://brixtonhouse.co.uk/shows/black-corporeal-breathing-by-numbers/
Commissioned and presented by Brixton House
Created and directed by Julianknxx
Studio producer: Debo Amon
Producer: Tobi Kyeremateng
Director of Photography: Pablo Rojo
Featured Vocalist: Jacob Banks
Original Score: Paul Cousins
Araceli Camargo: Essay writer
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