Sammy Baloji | Tales of the Copper Cross Garden: Episode 1



Sammy Baloji’s documenta 14 film, Tales of the Copper Cross Garden. Episode 1 (2017), visualizes the the processing of copper as a choreography of black workers’ bodies, transforming raw material into a product in an industrialized space for the global market. This process serves as a metaphor of the colonial endeavour, in which the Congolese population was molded into a workforce; and insinuates ways in which the church played a pivotal role in reshaping Congolese society. The latter is reflected in the film’s soundtrack, containing syncretized ecclesiastical music composed by Joseph Kiwele(a Congolese born statesman who later served as minister in the Katanga Region), who was assigned to create a piece that complied with catholic codes, but would also appeal to Congolese musical tastes. It expresses the ubiquitous relationship between the mining industry, cultural and religious manipulation.