Keith Piper is an artist, curator, critic and academic. He was a founder member of the BLK Art Group, an association of black British art students, mostly based in the West Midlands, who mounted a series of exhibitions of young black British artists between 1980–1984. Piper’s works examine the history and culture of black identity in the UK and beyond, and he was an early pioneer of the use of new technologies in contemporary art.
Piper’s commission for the Arts Council Collection’s 70th anniversary, Unearthing the Banker's Bones comprises three synchronised high-definition video projections. Alongside these, ‘physical evidence’, in the form of books and bones is displayed, playing off against the unfolding narrative of the video.
The commission addresses notions of apocalypse, science fiction and the future. Piper’s sketches are superimposed onto the video, accentuating the moody, haunting tone of the work. For Piper, landscape operates as both a mythical and futurological site, within which to consider what will happen to the ecology, civilization and urban space in the future. Unearthing the Banker's Bones, itself a powerful piece of prose, pays homage to a range of literary figures including science fiction writer Octavia Butler, Gothic novelist Mary Shelley and the 1960s group The Last Poets.
- Artwork Details: running time: 10 minutes 18seconds
- Material description: 3 screen 4k video with 2 vitrines
- Credit line: A 70th Anniversary Commission for the Arts Council Collection with Bluecoat and INIVA. © the artist.
- Medium: Film and Audio Visual
- Accession number: ACC24/2015