Akeroyd Collection


Tony Cokes, SM BNGRZ 1 + 2, 2021

Tony Cokes’s SM BNGRZ 1 + 2 is a two-channel video installation, deploying the familiar strategy of witty juxtapositions of text, music, colour and font to mesmerizing effect. The work interrogates the importance and value of communal spaces of resistance and liberation in the form of club culture and raves. In the context of the Covid-19 global pandemic, however, and the decimation of the nightlife economy, Cokes’s SM BNGRZ 1 + 2 ultimately leads to new questions on the potential loss of these liberating spaces through the impossibility of collectivity as a force of resistance and pleasure. Central to the work are citations of Jeremy Gilbert and Ewan Pearson’s academic work charting dance music’s transatlantic evolution and its origins in the history of social oppression. Cokes offers a parallel reading of Rainald Goetz’s Rave – a 2020 translation of the novel that captures the debauchery and aura of resistance within techno music’s sensory pleasures.

Through his selection of music - dance tracks spanning 1988 to 2021, Cokes intentionally undercuts Gilbert and Pearson’s heteronormative critiques of disco, the dance music at odds with the now-dated text. The frankness with which drug taking is discussed undermines any moralising that might otherwise be evident. Ultimately, the emphasis on queer politics, and particularly the solidarity engendered between Latinx and Black communities inside this culture, become a rallying cry for sonic liberation and hope for a future of collectivity once again.

Medium2-channel HD video, colour, sound
Duration45 minutes 48 seconds