Inside an exhibition with video images of a face on several walls.

Listening All Night To The Rain, Canto II by John Akomfrah. Image by Jack Hems.

Together with the sonic, Akomfrah explores the role of water in understanding our world. In theatrically staged tableaux and archival footage, water, like sound, moves in waves that parallel fluctuations of time. It shares the experience of diaspora – of dispersion – from one space to another, often over water.

Inspired in part by the work of philosopher Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962) and immunologist Jacques Benveniste (1935-2004), Akomfrah considers water as a reservoir for memory: a site where narratives from the past, present and future are held. In a world of climate catastrophes and rising sea levels, Akomfrah suggests that this logic can offer a means to navigate the present.

'The key metaphor, the key visual trope of flooding, goes back to concerns about climate change. I think it's also important that we use the occasion of the approaching crisis, to rethink what our past has been, to listen more to what our past has been ... listening to your past is a good exercise.'

John Akomfrah

Photos: Cristiano Cortes © British Council

Visual identity: TEMPLO