Alberta Whittle
What is a better life (exorcised in the middle), Chapter 3: To dwell in a canefield is to make space for warnings from those that are marked by blood and who can summon what is needed, 2021
12 minutes 30 seconds
The Box, Plymouth (Plymouth City Council)
Commissioned by Hayward Gallery Touring and The Box, Plymouth for British Art Show 9 and made possible with Art Fund support


This new episode from an evolving multi-part work opens with ghostly footage of a sugarcane plantation. A text warns us that ‘the risk of losing personhood is upon us’ and we become aware that the threat lies in the British government’s policy of hostile environment, which aims to make life difficult for illegal immigrants living in the UK. Quoting the Black Canadian writer Dionne Brand, the text refers to the Door of No Return through which Africans departed en route to a life of slavery in the Caribbean. While the recent UK Nationality and Borders Bill increases the risk to migrants, there is a glimmer of hope in the spontaneous action of hundreds of Glaswegians who successfully won the temporary release of two refugees detained by British immigration officers in May 2021.


This film is part of British Art Show 9 in Wolverhampton, open until 10 April, 2022. It is presented in the Film Programme in the University of Wolverhampton School of Art and relates to Alberta Whittle’s installation in Wolverhampton Art Gallery.


Read more about Alberta Whittle here.