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Multi-screen film commission by visionary artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.

Thursday, January 4

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Open 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday and selected bank holidays from 30 November 2023-2 June 2024.

Experience the UK premiere of a major new multi-screen film commission by visionary artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.

With beautiful visuals of landscapes from across the globe, stunning underwater footage and a haunting soundtrack, Arcadia reflects on ‘The Columbian Exchange’ – the widespread transfer of plants, animals, precious metals, commodities, populations, technology, diseases and ideas between the Americas, Afro-Eurasia and Europe – the ‘New World’ and the ‘Old World’ – from the 1400s onwards.

The film is presented across five screens in the shape of a cross with a multi-layered narrative featuring storms, restless seas, vast skies, beaches, ice fields, mountains, rivers and forests.

We see how miraculous our planet is, but the epic scenery and landscapes are ‘interrupted’ by images of cargo, symbols of trade, ageing boat hulks, microbes, cells and people suffering from smallpox. They combine to evoke ideas of migration, journeys, colonial encounters, how things travel and spread, growth and decay.

“I wanted to go back to a time before the guns came out – to explore what other weapons, intended or otherwise, were in play. There are always powerful forces at work that are beyond our control. Humans are never the only actors on the stage.” – John Akomfrah

Arcadia has a running time of approximately 50 minutes.

Upcoming events

Wednesday, July 17
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Bringing together four distinct painters – Bernadette Kerrigan, Chris Martin, Daniel Pettitt, and EJ Hauser – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today explores the formal and informal ways each of them make sense of the world through paint.
Saturday, July 20
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Hettie Judah, writer and exhibition curator, shares insights from her research for her book, Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood which explores the joys, messes, myths and mishaps of parenting through visual culture.
Wednesday, July 24
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Take a deeper lunchtime look into ‘The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure’.
Saturday, July 27
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Come and immerse yourselves in an exhibition that explores pivotal moments in Plymouth’s past and present relationship with the sea.

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