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

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

Monday, May 27
Untitled design (2)
A special two hour event after hours that allows families and people with autism and other sensory needs to enjoy our exhibits without the noise and distraction.
Tuesday, May 28
Untitled (1000 × 800 px) (87)
A major touring exhibition exploring South Asian miniature paintings.
Thursday, May 30
box
At The Box Plymouth this winter season
Thursday, May 30
Sea Shanties and Pasties! (1)
A heady mix of cutting-edge performances showcasing spontaneity, poetic visions, absurd electronics, fetish, grief and embodied expressions of resistance.

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