John Akomfrah at the Barbican

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Running until 7 January 2018, British artist and writer John Akomfrah’s emotional site-specific installation for the Curve at the Barbican (London) features photographs, an immersive six-channel video, sound and music installation, raising awareness on the urgency of climate change and the inherent consequences of the upcoming disaster. These themes include the realities of economic hardship and deadly migration. The immersive artwork is a must-see.

Ten years in the making, Akomfrah has arranged hundreds of hours of archival footage filmed worldwide in a composition that first shows poetic photographs of saved-natural environment alongside a pile of tires; later a dramatic ceiling-installation of empty plastic bottles acting as a reminder of how human industrial activities inexorably destroy the planet.

At a time when, according to the UN, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are at their highest levels in history, with people experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, including shifting weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events, Akomfrah’s Purple deals with animal extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming.

John Akomfrah, Still from Purple, 2017, Six Screen film installation. Credit: © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.