I was commissioned to produce visuals and stage lighting for a musical project based on the life and work of 'self-styled black revolutionary and civil rights activist in 1960s London', Michael X. Scored by Bobbie Gardner and performed in September 2013 at Vivid Projects, Birmingham, the show entitled simply 'X' was one of a series of events focusing on the London Free School curated by Ian Sergeant.
Research began with a BBC documentary that portrayed a 1970s mainstream news perspective, whilst the John L William's book on Michael offered a more balanced personal perspective of a man with a conflicted racial identity, separated mixed-race parents and a victim of British racial discrimination laws intended to protect ethnic minorities, not incriminate them.
A combination of archive imagery, collage, paintings shot on 35mm slide film and video excerpts were utilised to re-tell Michael's story from an emotional perspective, in contrast to the screening of the BBC documentary before the performance.
Michael X (1933 – 16 May 1975), born Michael de Freitas in Trinidad and Tobago to a Portuguese father and a mother from Barbados, was a self-styled black revolutionary and civil rights activist in 1960s London. He was also known as Michael Abdul Malik and Abdul Malik. Convicted of murder in 1972, Michael X was executed by hanging in 1975 in Port of Spain's Royal Jail."
More info at Vivid Projects site for the Revolutions series of events.
Excerpts from the performance can be seen in the video link below
The BBC documentary shown before the performance: