BLKNWS (black news) is an innovative film installation by the Los Angeles artist and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph.


BLKNWS was first shown in 2019 during the Venice Biennale. Because the footage is constantly updated, the work is reminiscent of a news channel. In BLKNWS Joseph combines current and historical footage about black culture. This is how he investigates the way in which black lives are perceived and represented in media and art.

The artwork

The film installation by Joseph consists of two flat screens, mounted side by side on a background in the form of a photo wallpaper. In doing so, Joseph realizes a 2 channel "news broadcast" in which the boundaries between art, journalism, entrepreneurship and cultural criticism are blurred; a critical analysis of how racial issues and storytelling collide with information systems.

'News broadcast'

BLKNWS explores the medium of film as a powerful collective experience that can be manipulated through its essential visual and auditory components. The staggering underdevelopment of the news medium format is exposed through a dynamic montage of film fragments from popular culture, archive material and filmed TV news fragments. Historical material is shown alongside simple images from our daily reality. Seen through Kahlil Joseph's lens, these images are steeped in an unusual perception of our contemporary society, which can be understood as the artist's ethos, giving them a new life of meaning and reflection. The perspective accomplished by the split-screen technique polarizes the images used, fragmenting the story, and exposing both the poetic and political potential of the images.

In his conceptual approach to contemporary journalism and entrepreneurship, Kahlil Joseph sees BLKNWS as a work of art, a think tank, a global network, a broadcast platform and an ongoing archive. Each edition of BLKNWS has a permanent, online connection to the artist's studio, enabling new content to be continuously received in real-time, creating an endlessly growing 'news broadcast' unique to each location where the work is shown.

About the artist

Kahlil Joseph (1981, Seattle) is a Los Angeles-based American artist and filmmaker best known for his groundbreaking video clips for musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, FKA twigs and Beyoncé. Since 2015, he is also known for his large-scale video installations, on the interface between cinema, visual art, fashion and music.

The aim of this presentation is to draw attention to the strength of the permanent collection of the Bonnefanten and was created with the support of the Rembrandt Association and the Turing Foundation.

Images used: Video still, Kahlil Joseph, BLKNWS, 2018-2019, two-channel fugitive newscast


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