Gasworks presents a major new film commission by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer. Acclaimed for their feature film Empty Metal (2018), a science-fiction political thriller set against a backdrop of racialised police brutality and mass surveillance, Khalil and Sweitzer delve into anti-colonial politics by weaving together indigenous histories and speculative imagination with a subcultural sensibility.
For their first UK solo exhibition at Gasworks, Khalil and Sweitzer will premiere Nosferasta, a Rastafarian vampire film starring and co-written by Oba, an artist and musician based in Brooklyn. Spanning 500 years of colonial destruction, human trafficking and blood sucking, the film reimagines Oba’s origin story. In the late 15th century, Oba is shipped as cargo from West Africa to the Caribbean, where he is seduced by the vampire Christopher Columbus, ensuring his undying allegiance to the colonial project.
As the centuries blow by, Oba and Columbus work behind the scenes, pulling the strings of ‘new world’ geopolitics as they spread vampirism across the Western Hemisphere. Combining film forms and 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?
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 supported by Cinereach.
Gasworks commissions are supported by Catherine Petitgas and Gasworks Exhibitions Supporters.
Nosferasta Press Release