Akeroyd Collection


Nikita Gale, DESCENT, 2018

DESCENT is an autobiographical video work that presents a series of visual representations of sound, music, and noise. A black screen with white spectrogram jitters as noisy distorted tones descends eventually becoming infectious beats and glitchy, remixed samples. The artist, as a calm narrator, tells us that Gale’s father tries to get in touch periodically, but it has since become hard due to Gale now using a different surname. The screen turns red, the noise is depicted graphically with white dots and coloured lines, and so begins a visual and oral treatise on the politics of transparency and opacity. Nikita and Gale are the 2 first given names of the artist, the artist’s family name was omitted as an act of personal refusal against the state. To Gale, this name represents the oppressive systems that labelled Gale’s ancestors according to their functionality within the institution of slavery. This video includes the governmental form for a legal name change and explains why Gale will not legitimize the system by following its procedures. Gale proposes instead to complexify their ‘social self’ by assuming two separate identities appropriate for two different contexts. In one, Gale necessarily addresses the ‘administrators of capital’ in the other, Gale finds a sense of self and personal agency, making Gale opaquer to the systems that surveil. Perhaps a play on the word dissent, this descent into a ‘productive’ opacity is seen as a form of resistance to techno-capitalism’s desire for transparency and to the systems that attempt to contain, control, and classify each of us.

MediumHD colour video, two-channel audio
Duration8 minutes 22 seconds
Editionof 3 + 2 APs