Relic Traveller: Phase 1 - Somerset House, PS/Y | Kings College, Southbank Centre | Hayward Gallery, & Jerwood Charitable Foundation (2017)

Larry Achiampong's 'Relic Traveller: Phase 1' is a multi-disciplinary project manifesting in performance, audio, moving image and prose. 

Taking place across various landscapes and locations, the project builds upon a postcolonial perspective informed by technology, agency and the body, and narratives of migration. 

PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS' ALLIANCE (ASCENSION) explores Afrofuturism and African diasporic identity. The design features 54 stars that represent the 54 countries of Africa, while the colours green, black and red reflect its land, its people and the struggles the continent has endured, respectively. The field of yellow gold represents a new day and prosperity. Achiampong has configured these Pan African colours and symbols into a form that is suggestive of a human figure in flight – an Afrofuturistic icon moving towards unity and equilibrium. The work does not frame Pan African Futurism as a utopian vision of the African continent, but one that considers aspects of responsibility in relation to the way that certain people live their lives

Relic 0, which is the prelude to the series, is a short film that moves between African and Western based vistas and focuses on specific architectures of colonialism as delivered by an anonymous narrator. These discoveries deliver poetic moments of the sublime met with increasingly harrowing tales of trauma - speaking to the sinister way that states of anxiety, fear and displacement are both generated and policed in postcolonial society. The throb of the electronic score and ringing clarity of the narrator's testimony usher in a new landscape and temporality, born from cracks in a traumatised, apocalyptic present.

In the short film Relic 1, one of the Relic Travellers is featured apparating sites across a seemingly desolate United Kingdom. Uncovering fragments of audible data presenting clue-like testimonies to a forgotten Empire, the Relic Traveller soon finds themselves in an atmosphere that simultaneously delivers poetic moments of the sublime met with increasingly harrowing claustrophobia and tales of trauma. Thus resulting in a familiar feeling of otherness, we are invited on a journey that embodies hysteria.

Voyage of the Relic Traveller is a performance by Larry Achiampong with Shiraz Bayjoo, the work simultaneously combines multi-channel visuals depicting historical, present and future colonial narratives accompanied by an intense, beat-driven live soundtrack of remixed audio and spoken word. 

The Relic Traveller Phase 1 Soundtrack builds upon Larry Achiampong’s approach to sound whilst working with new methodologies; marrying linguistic threads and an evocative, original synth-based sounds to deliver a soundtrack that ties with the open cinematic landscapes depicted in his video works: 'Relic 0' and 'Relic 1'.






Relic Traveller: Phase 1 is a project made possible with support from Somerset House, PS/Y Southbank Centre | Hayward Gallery, Jerwood Charitable Foundation & Arts Council England.


© Larry Achiampong