Postcolonial Dilemma Track #04 (Remix Mix) is the most recent (2019) incarnation of a film series of the same name, Kongo Astronauts’ films being infinitely remixable, as filmmaker and co-founder of Kongo Astronauts, Eléonore Hellio explains.
The film’s non-narrative journey opens with a metaphor of “extractavism”—which Kongo Astronauts defines as the economic process of colonial and post-colonial extraction that operates both on natural resources and on human subjects: a face superimposed on the earth is shattered with a pickaxe, then excavated with a spade. In gritty, post-apocalyptic urban settings, a performer with fire suggests a Promethean attempt to forge a device—perhaps a flamethrower. A violent victory dance with machetes and images of barefooted children on jungle paths evoke the teenage soldiers who rampaged through eastern Congo, massacres made with the simplest of means. Masked figures, as if possessed, make inchoate noises and incoherent utterances, linking us to atavistic masquerades as well as the masked astronauts of our present and the science-fiction movies that have become part of our global imaginary: of Star Wars, Space Odyssey 2001, Mad Max, Blade Runner. We are in the belly of the beast, but there are also a flower, an owl, a flock of birds, children make ethereal music out of garbage. In the end, there is clay being molded.
The film epitomizes, for Eléonore Hellio, how Kongo Astronauts itself “manifests in the interzone of digital globalization, where past, present and future collide, running headlong into the politics of intimacy and the identities of urban lives.”
Hellio, behind the camera and the editor, titles this remix as a “psychotronic” work within the “multidimensional world of Bebson Elemba,” musician, performance artist, and the inventor of musical instruments, who features in the film. Also on screen are performance artist and designer Michel Ekeba, as well as artist Danniel Toya and CATPC artist Mbuku Kimpala.