Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer, Nosferasta, 2021. Production photograph. Courtesy of the artists.
Gasworks presents a major new film commission by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer. Acclaimed for Empty Metal (2018), a science-fiction political thriller set against a backdrop of police brutality and mass surveillance, their films delve into contemporary indigenous experience and minority survival with a fiercely subcultural attitude.
For their first UK solo exhibition at Gasworks, Khalil and Sweitzer will premiere Nosferasta, an anti-colonial vampire film. Spanning centuries of destruction, human trafficking and blood sucking, this short film follows Oba, a young West African sold by his own rulers. In the early 16th century, Oba is shipped as cargo to the Caribbean, where he is seduced by the vampire Christopher Columbus, ensuring his undying allegiance to the colonial project.
A duo as unlikely as they are undead, Oba and Columbus spread vampirism throughout the Western Hemisphere, pulling the strings of New World geopolitics. In a twist on classic pulp genre tropes, Nosferasta examines the guilt of being complicit in imperial conquest, while acknowledging the extreme difficulty of unlearning centuries of vampiric conditioning. Ultimately, the film tackles an uncomfortable question: How can you decolonize yourself, if it’s in your blood?
Adam Khalil is a filmmaker and artist from the Ojibway tribe in Northern Michigan; Bayley Sweitzer is a filmmaker born in Southern Vermont. Recent screenings include the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives, and e-flux (New York); Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis); LACMA (Los Angeles); and Tate Modern (London). Their work has also featured at international events including the Whitney Biennial, Toronto Biennial, Sundance Film Festival. Alongside Zack Khalil and Jackson Polys, Adam Khalil is a core member of the indigenous collective New Red Order (NRO), for which Bayley Sweitzer acts as a regular informant.
Nosferasta is commissioned and produced by Gasworks, London and Spike Island, Bristol, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. The film is also generously supported by Cinereach.
Gasworks commissions are supported by Catherine Petitgas and Gasworks Exhibitions Supporters.
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