Black Code/Code Noir

Louis Henderson

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Louis Henderson, Black Code/Code Noir (still), 2015

e-flux presents True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films Black Code/Code Noir
Louis Henderson

10 Minutes
Courtesy of Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

March 9–22, 2021

Join us on e-flux Video & Film for an online screening of Louis Henderson’s Black Code/Code Noir (2015), on view from Tuesday, March 9 through Monday, March 22, 2021.

Black Code/Code Noir unites temporally and geographically disparate elements into a critical reflection on two recent events: the murder of Michael Brown and that of Kajieme Powell by American police officers in 2014. Archaeologically, the film argues that behind this current situation is a sedimented history of slavery, preserved by the Black Code laws of the colonies in the early Americas. These codes have transformed into the algorithms that configure police Big Data and the necropolitical control of African-Americans today. Yet, how can we read this in the present? How can we unwrite the sorcery of this code as a hack? Through a historical détournement, the film suggests the Haitian Revolution as the first instance of a hacking of the Black Code and, perhaps, a symbol for future hope.

Black Code/Code Noir is presented here as one of four films in Part Three | Tracking the Coded Real, the third of five programs in the online series True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists‘ Films programmed by Lukas Brasiskis for e-flux Video & Film.

True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists' Films runs from February 9 through April 19, 2021. The films in each part will screen for two weeks. Subsequent parts will follow bi-weekly, with new films screened every other Tuesday.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

Technology, Film
Necropolitics, Algorithms, Blackness, Historicity & Historiography, Slavery, Afrofuturism, Postcolonialism, Documentary, Experimental Film
Return to Part Three | Tracking the Coded Real

Louis Henderson is a filmmaker who is currently trying to find new ways of working with people to address and question our current global condition, defined by racial capitalism and the ever-present histories of the European colonial project. The working method is archaeological. Henderson has shown his work at places such as the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Doc Lisboa, CPH:DOX, the New York Film Festival, the Contour Biennial, the Kiev Biennial, the Centre Pompidou, SAVVY Contemporary, the Gene Siskell Film Centre, Gasworks, and Tate Britain. His work is in the public collection of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques, France.

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