Phat Free


DVD, color, sound, original poem on gold leaf by John Farris

5min. 4sec.

The film starts in total darkness. The only action heard is rattling sounds. After two minutes of darkness, a vague image appears, immersed in the orange lighting of nighttime urban action. Street lights show David Hammons himself kicking a metal bucket as he walks city streets at night.

Based on a 1995 performance, the action that develops in the Phat Free video can refer to the expression “kicking the bucket”, meaning dying, while evoking various African-American musical styles. These metaphorical aspects combine with the triviality of the object used, a recurrent theme with Hammons, which engages while emitting an unusual, awkward metallic sound.

A video imposing a rhythmic, almost musical break, Phat Free by David Hammons belongs to the Pinault Collection. The video was first shown at the 2013 “Prima Materia” (“Raw Material”) exhibition at the Punta della Dogana.