Akomfrah talks about his approach to making films and his commitment to the philosophy of montage. In Vertigo Sea (2015), he built a meaningful montage of different clips and mixed archival with original footage in a video installation of three connected wide screens. In so doing, the viewer had the choice between what was in focus and what was left in the periphery, giving the opportunity for anybody to get a different understanding of what they have watched. Akomfrah’s use of different footage and multiple screens also portrays how identity is formed as part of a collision of history, culture and politics. Identity is presented as a conjunction of the outside and the inside, where individual subjectivities are formed in both real and fictive spaces.
John Akomfrah is a British artist, writer, director, and curator, well known for his work with the Black Audio Film Collective, of which he was a founding member. The collective was dedicated in the production of documentaries focused on the investigations of black identity and culture within the British society. The multimedia artists chronicled England’s multicultural past and present, pushing the boundaries of the documentary form. In 1997, Akomfrah co-founded his own film production company with two members of the collective before the group became inactive. Since then, he continues to produce diverse stories from underrepresented communities to the mainstream in a variety of media.