Fetish by Topher Campbell | 15 mins | scored by Young Fathers
Commissioned and premiered at Basquiat x Video Jam at the Barbican Hall, 28/01/18. The event marked the closing of Basquiat: Boom for Real, the first large scale exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s in the UK.
Artist statement: “The character of Fetish is a representation of so many things. He is at once a clear form - a body - and formless, like the bodies of Basquiat. As a Black man in the streets, he is both positioned by othering and places himself in a world of looking, power, strength, harassment, fashion, sexual objectification, invisibility, visibility, admiration, CCTV, selfies, vulnerability, humour, performance, protest, danger, violence and humour. If you have ever been stopped by police for being Black, embarrassment, futility and vulnerability are at the apex of the experience. Or, as is the case with Tamir, Philando, Freddy, Sandra and so on, being dead and treated like shit is what happens. Fetish in this film experiences and represents this painful embarrassment and vulnerability. It's hard to watch and painful to experience.
By the end of the film through magic, through fire, through defiance, through being a multi-dimensional being in touch with the elements, Fetish reclaims his body and stands like a colossus in The City.” - Topher Campbell
Topher Campbell is a director of film, television and theatre and writer. He is a recipient of the 2005 Jerwood Directors Award. In 2000 alongside artist-photographer Ajamu he set up rukus! Federation Ltd, an artist led company dedicated to presenting the best work by Black Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual, Transgender (BLGBT) artists. Current projects include the UK's first and only BLGBT Archive now housed at the London Metropolitan Archive. In 2008 rukus! received the Archive Landmark Award by London Metropolitan Archive. His short films The Homecoming and Mulatto Song (Ch4) have been shown worldwide.