Rocket Kit Congo Kit - Craig BALDWIN
"AUTOUR DE LA MAISON TROPICALE"
Since the 1970s, American artist Craig Baldwin has been engaged in a critical rethink of the documentary genre by repurposing found footage material into new works. Rocket Kit Congo Kit (1986) is a schizophrenic compilation that traces the history of former Zaire, actual Democratic Republic of Congo, since its independence in 1960. The film is based around the agreement between Mobutu and East Germany which allotted one-tenth of the area of the country to German rocket plants. Advertising imagery, educational films and all kinds of archive material are edited together to give a view of neo-colonialism from a resolutely ironic standpoint. The soundtrack, which is a combination of indigenous music and contemporary electronic sounds, the proliferation of speeches in voice-over, dynamic editing, and a bright and colourful aesthetic all contribute to a polyphonic rewriting of history, through which meaning emerges out of the contradictions implicit in American popular culture and mass media.
"As a new generation of "media savages," our cargo-cult can sift through the debris left by the corporate producers, to construct a playful and ingenious bricolage that re-invests the older material with new, critical meanings.” Craig Baldwin.