Jump directly to the page contents


Film still from Crystal Z Campbell’s „Revolver“. Top view onto a vertically mirrored object with abstract forms on it, held by a hand on each side.
© Crystal Z Campbell
  • Director

    Crystal Z Campbell

  • USA / 2022
    17 min. / Single-channel video installation / Original version

  • Original language


REVOLVER is an archive of pareidolia (a situation in which someone sees a pattern or an image of something that does not exist) narrated by a descendant of Exodusters (Black people from the southern United States who fled violence and inequities following the American Civil War, 1861–65). The city Nicodemus in Kansas was deemed a refuge for Exodusters. Two contradicting narratives about this city are difficult to hold at once: the lure of a potential utopia while also being exiled in one’s own land. Guided by memory, history, and rumor of a fabled Black utopia, REVOLVER pairs abstraction and perceptual inquiry with psychic conjuring. Sonic transitions forge this experimental documentary, a perpetual chronicle of witnessing and wayfinding.

Production Crystal Z Campbell. Production company Crystal Z Campbell (Buffalo, New York, USA). Director Crystal Z Campbell. Editing Crystal Z Campbell. Sound design Crystal Z Campbell. With Angela Bates.

Crystal Z Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker, and writer of Black, Filipinx, and Chinese descent whose works center underloved archival material and public secrets—fragments of information known by many but undertold or unspoken. Screenings and exhibitions include: SFMOMA, San Francisco; Drawing Center, New York; ICA Philadelphia; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and DocLisboa. Campbell was a featured filmmaker at the 67th Flaherty Film Seminar. Campbell is a Visiting Associate Professor in Art & Media Study at University at Buffalo.

Films: 2009: A DARK LOVE STORY FOR CLOWNS (5 min.). 2010: WITNESS (5 min.). 2011: Futures for Failures (1 min.). 2017: Go-Rilla Means War (19 min.). 2018: On The Way To The Moon, We Discovered The Earth (10 min.). 2019: CURRENCY (3 min.). 2020: A Meditation on Nature in the Abscence of an Eclipse (8 min.), Viewfinder (video installation, 20 min.). 2021: Flight (video installation, 24 min.). 2022: Revolver.

Bonus Material

Portrait of Crystal Z Campbell standing next to a colorful window.

Crystal Z Campbell © Melissa Lukenbaugh

“There is something about the notion of a Black utopia that I am interested in.”

Karina Griffith talks with artist Crystal Z Campbell

Bonus Material

Back to exhibition

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur