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Donald Rodney In Retrospect

The Genome Chronicles

30 Oct-29 Nov 2008

A new film by John Akomfrah, produced by Smoking Dogs Films in association with Iniva

  • Venue

    Project Space 2

  • Time

    Various Times

  • Admission


  • Artists

    John Akomfrah

The Genome Chronicles – A Threnody for Lost Lives

‘I have been dreaming about making The Genome Chronicles for a very long time but what it should speak about only came to me very recently, quite by accident, in fact…’ John Akomfrah

A new element in Donald Rodney In Retrospect is a film made by filmmaker John Akomfrah, a friend of Donald Rodney’s. The coupling of Rodney’s work with the film makes this exhibition a unique exploration of the relationship between memory – what is remembered – and the memorial – how things are remembered.

‘In 1993, Donald Rodney began to document his “crisis” visits to various hospitals in London and Birmingham with a Super 8 camera. Initially filming every aspect of these visits, the gaze of his camera gradually shifted to other areas of his life: his visits to gallery openings, his close friends, and his relationship with collaborator and partner, Diane Symons.

Within days of Donald’s death, my mother also passed away. I used the premise of her death to begin an epic investigation, unbounded by traditional notions of time, into the relationship between image and memory. For ten years I visited the Scottish Isles of Skye and Mull, collecting material in a variety of digital formats to develop a personal archive of images and textures.

The Genome Chronicles is the hybrid result of the fusing together of these two image obsessions and two sets of investigations to raise a new set of concerns, concerns on the relationship between pain and the imagination, between memory and identity, between memorial and remembrance.

Conceived as a “song cycle” in ten distinct but interrelated parts, The Genome Chronicles is organised by music from a variety of genres such as Tibetan chants, Indian Ghazals and post-punk noise pieces. The film uses this montage of sounds to explore overlapping concerns on the ethics of image making, on legacy and inheritance, on the unspoken perils of patrimony and kinship.

Narrated by voices emitted from a diverse range of writings including Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, Gaston Bachelard and Michel Foucault, The Genome Chronicles is ultimately in memoriam of a friend mourned, a threnody on lost time.’ John Akomfrah, 2008

Screening times

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

11.15, 12.00, 12.45, 13.30, 14.15,

15.00, 15.45, 16.30, 17.15

11.15, 12.00, 12.45, 13.30, 14.15, 15.00,15.45,

16.30, 17.15, 18.00, 18.45, 19.30, 20.15


12.15, 13.00, 13.45, 14.30,

15.15, 16.00, 16.45