Black Code/Code Noir revolves around the murders of Michael Brown and Kajieme Powell, two Afro-Americans killed by US-police officers in Missouri in 2014. Through an intricate layering of historical events, the British film director Louis Henderson puts them in a larger perpective to critically reflect on them as latest manifestations of a long history of slavery and racial oppression. Like an archaeologist, Henderson digs for material in the World Wide Web, using circulating images and mobile footage, news fragments, graphics and animations to draw a line to the current upheavels in Ferguson. Even today, social interactions continue to be determined by the history of slavery and the “black codes” restricting human rights of blacks in the United States. Internalised social codes and racist structures are furthermore inscribed into algorithmic culture and the surveillance mechanisms controlled by Big Data, on the basis of which the American police state decides between life and death of Afro-Americans. Yet for Henderson, looking back into history also provides hope for the future: Can the anti-slavery insurrection that took place in the former French colony of Saint Domingue in the eighteenth century be a guide on how to hack the “black code”?
More by Louis Henderson: vimeo.com/louishenderson
A cooperation with 20. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur.