27 June 2011

Robots of Brixton

Robots of Brixton is unusual, exciting and different, not least because it concerns an area close to which I live – Brixton.  Set in the near future this startling animation by Kibwe Tavares sees Brixton inhabited by a new wave of immigrants – this time, however, it is not people but robots.

Designed to carry out all the tasks that humans do not want to do the robot population has grown sky high.  This is reflected in the (still somewhat recognizable) streets of Brixton which have some very impressive CG add-ons.

The robots live lives which are marred by poverty, disillusionment and, it seems, mass unemployment.

Yet they do have one space which they can call their own (shades of Unamatrix Zero if you know what I mean!) until this is invaded by the police, intent on curbing any illegal activity with as heavy hand as possible.

This would stand very well on its own but what Tavares and his team have very cleverly done is to interpolate the recent history of Brixton in to this film of the future.

The clash of robots and the authorities mirror the infamous Brixton riots of 1981 with actual footage from then, caught by the lense of photographer David Hoffman.

As the youth of South East London once again bear the brunt of a seemingly unfeeling, patrician and care-less government, perhaps this should be sent to No 10 Downing Street.  As a reminder of the past it also carries a stark warning for the future.