Five Murmurations

Opening: Lisson NYC

September 2021

Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound

54 minutes

Director: John Akomfrah

Producers: Lina Gopaul, David Lawson and Ashitey Akomfrah

Since March 2020, Akomfrah has been working on the longest continuous-running project of his career. Made in real-time and working remotely with a worldwide team to document how individuals and communities have been coping with the pandemic, Five Murmurations has become an exploration of the personal within a collective consciousness of emergency and mourning.

Taking its cue from early cinema; the work is shot entirely in black and white, and in a new format utilising a series of new camera techniques to form bricolage of new and archival footage.

Presented in five orchestrated murmurations, referring to when a flock of birds fly in tight, fast formation as a defense mechanism against predators, these chapters act as markers for the themes explored, metonymic and metaphorical in their composition it acts as a powerful reflection of our experience living today, one that is both dark and haunting yet cathartic, reminding us of how crisis can yield change.