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Postcolonial Dilemma Track #04 (Remix Mix)id the 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. In Kinshasa an environmental warning manifests in a machete dance, and a barefooted man ascending a trash filled jungle path speaks to planetary abuse. A masked man with a fiery weapon links violence in eastern Congo with themes of ecology. A Darth Vader figure cannot remove the burden of imposed western systems represented by his mask. One spacewalker is asking the viewer to pay attention while the other is losing control. Bebson Elemba burns dysfunctional objects creating toxic fumes. We are in the belly of the beast, but there is also a flower, an owl, a flock of birds, children make music out of garbage. In the end, clay is being formed, evoking past, present and future possibilities.
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.
Excepted from texts by Dominique Malaquais, curator and art historian.