A Symbol of the Withdrawn God by Lamin Fofana


Revisiting and extending a previous composition with unvoiced fragments, shards, and utterances, Lamin Fofana’s work, A Symbol of the Withdrawn God (2016/2021, 20:21 min.), casts light on the devastating impacts of climate change and its violent implications for Black life. In Fofana’s sonic cosmos, organ tones permeate sounds of abstract electric guitars, while distant piano melodies are fused with accents of cello and violin. His piece is marked by a recurring muffled sound - the stroke of a clock, perhaps? Who’s time is up? During the creation process of his work, Fofana read the science fiction novel 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, set in a time when much of humanity has fled an uninhabitable and overheated Earth. Fofana’s piece is a meditation on our current climate emergency, from hurricanes in the Caribbean to mudslides in West Africa, and the ever-present deaths caused by a lack of meaningful action. In a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted, Fofana’s piece instigates a hymn to the possibility of refusal through art – here, through a sense of singing while running for one's life.

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