The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève is proud to present the swiss première of Negus, a conceptual feature length documentary directed by the Italian art duo Invernomuto staring Lee “Scratch” Perry.
The film explores the convergence of history, myth and magic through the complex and competing legacies of Ethiopia’s last emperor Haile Selassie I. In Italy during the fascist rule of Mussolini, Selassie was portrayed as a black devil, justifying Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia. During the same period the religion of Rastafarianism was emerging in Jamaica and claiming Selassie as their living God and the black Christ resurrected. Negus is powered from the void between these two irreconcilable realities.
The directors first came to the subject of Selassie through a nearly forgotten story told to them in their hometown of Vernasca, Italy. In 1936, while Italy led a gruesome occupation of Ethiopia, a wounded soldier returned from service to Vernasca. On the occasion of his return, the community organized a joyful and obscure ritual in the main square, during which an effigy of Haile Selassie I was burnt.
Knowing that many Rastafarians take Selassie to be a reincarnation of Christ on earth, Invernomuto proposed to perform a ritual of purification and resurrection in honor of Haile Selassie I on this same square.
Negus follows a circular structure, and its locations (the vertexes of the triangle: Vernasca, Ethiopia and Jamaica) are mixed constantly, almost superimposed, demanding that the viewer loose the limitations of geographical orientation. The film lingers on the in-between spaces uniting the narrative in a sensual contemplative mood. Negus proposes that the trajectories of peoples, ideologies and mythologies are never one way vectors, but always exist in the complexity of infinite feedback and recourse.
Invernomuto was born in 2003 from the collaboration between Simone Bertuzzi, and Simone Trabucchi, based in Milan and Vernasca. Although they primarily work in moving image and sound, Invernomuto also integrate sculpture, publishing, and performance in their practice. Bertuzzi and Trabucchi also pursue individual practices in the field of music, performing under the names Palm Wine and Dracula Lewis respectively.
To extend the discovery of Invernomuto’s work, the far ° festival of performing arts in Nyon will present on 11,12 and 13 August 2016, Negus – Celebration, a series of works taking shape between an open installation, a video and a performance.