Stef Will

Stef Will

• 11 May 2022

Polyvalent Brixton

‘Polyvalent 1 & 2’ are two site specific works that were created in a collaboration between myself and artist and filmmaker Rukiah Zakaria. The two short films feature footage taken in Brixton, South London, in the spring of 2022, in response to an open call exploring Brixton’s history of conflict and integration.

The work explores and celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of Brixton by looking beyond the visible surface. By integrating images from far-infrared and daylight lenses, ‘Polyvalent 1’ investigates integration on a more than skin-deep level, transcending judgements based on visible aspects of the body, inviting the viewer to meditate on the true essence of community and the humanhood attached to it.

Layers of fast paced voyeuristic imagery are presented, as the viewer is invited to attend an evening’s worth of community surveillance in just two minutes.

At the same time, the algorithmic gaze of the thermal lens, further enhanced by a pixelated pattern referencing concepts of deconstruction and reconstruction, raises concerns by enhancing the notion of surveillance imagery, while invoking thoughts connotations of conflict and racial discrimination by the powers-that-be.

‘Polyvalent 2’ was created in response to ‘Polyvalent 1’, featuring further excerpts of the footage taken in Brixton, stagnating the communities’ architectural features as vibrant loops created using thermal and daylight imaging.

The discretely incongruous presentation of the frames investigates integration on a microscopic scale, mimicking the effects of gradual gentrification of an area. Gentrification frequently overtakes communities, leaving microscopic snapshots of their past and history. This short film highlights both the original and new elements of the community through a multichannel microscopic lens.