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Part III: Elijah McClain “His Last Words” (HS LST WRDZ”), (2021), Music: Between The Clock and The Bed by Manic Street Preachers.

"I found the text containing the last words of Elijah McClain as a post on social media. Actually, I found several, nearly identical versions of it. The fragmented, poignant, often apologetic words were shocking and painful to read. The text demanded a strong, contrasting musical setting. I thought about the work of Manic Street Preachers, a Weish band noted for complex and varied cultural references in their lyrics and leftist political perspectives. I thought McClain’s text layered even more abjectly against the Manics song, ‘Between The Clock and The Bed.’ The song in the context of the video reads like a statement of complicity with the violence described, and its gorgeous lyrics and vocals, especially the presence of Green Garthside, an artist with a history of compelling fusions of political and theoretical rigor and impeccable pop aesthetics, adds a register of sublime sadness to the minimal text animation." - Tony Cokes

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Tony Cokes, Face Value: von Trier, Bowie, Kanye, 2015, Courtesy of Greene Naftali

What was Von Trier up to during his notorious press conference in Cannes? And Bowie when he flirted with fascism? And Kanye West with his megalomania?

Face Value: von Trier, Bowie, Kanye (2015) started in 2006 when Cokes employed the credits of the film Manderlay by the controversial director Lars von Trier, and later combined with statements the director made in Cannes in 2011. Manderlay was the second part of von Trier’s idea for a trilogy titled USA-Land of Opportunities, imagining a plantation in rural Alabama in 1933 where slavery had not been abolished. The film is replete with racist terminology. Cokes’ work also includes charged historical quotations and three songs by David Bowie including Young Americans (the soundtrack to von Trier’s credits) and the words of similarly controversial singer Kanye West, known for his provocative public statements. Megalomania, declarations of love for fascism, racist remarks, and other statements become even more shocking when extracted and magnified.

FULL INTERVIEW: Cole Moore x Tony Cokes discuss Part III: Elijah McClain “His Last Words” (HS LST WRDZ”), (2021), Music: Between The Clock and The Bed by Manic Street Preachers.