Akeroyd Collection


Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, The Same Track, 2022

The Same Track (2022) intricately weaves together archival footage of historic editions of The Commonwealth Games across the ages, blending scenes of athletes, spectators, and administrators with images depicting the economic and promotional activities of diverse British colonies and Commonwealth states. A soundtrack of lush, synthetic pads and orchestral phrases swell to a nostalgic ambient soundscape full of pathos and sadness. This melancholy heightens a noticeable distinction between the largely white spectators, games officials and dignitaries and the workers, soldiers and athletes, who are largely people of colour. As much as this is an intersectional commentary on class and its relation to race, it also speaks to the idea of visibility and value. Here, the unseen labour, achievements and contributions to Britain from Commonwealth peoples and nations are foregrounded by their disappearance from the footage. Paradoxically, all the runners and athletes have been digitally removed from the shots to varying degrees of invisibility. Sometimes their shadows can be seen sprinting along tracks, at others, just ghostly digital disturbance remains where their bodies were once on view. This absence highlights a sense of political erasure, while the hyper-visible pomp and pageantry of the royal family parade the games and various ceremonies associated with them. The film was originally showcased on screens outside stadiums during the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK. This site specificity serves as a poignant commentary on the Games' historical implications, deeply rooted in a centuries-long political narrative. This short film, and its contextual setting, highlight the dissonance between the outward presentation of the Games, reflective of the Commonwealth organization, and the problematic, underlying historical realities shaping them. In a linear fashion, the film traces the evolution of the games from within the British Empire to the most contemporary setting, and in doing so, poetically exposes the façade of such soft power events. Sports conveniently promote ideals of meritocracy and healthy competition, and yet the very premise and framework of this particular event are entrenched in ideologies of unequal access and economic exploitation. In this work, the games themselves serve as a poignant microcosm of imperial power and the violence of colonialism.

MediumDigital video and sound
Duration4 minutes 3 seconds
Editionof 3 of 5 + 2 AP