Jail Bird in a Peacock Chair

James Gregory Atkinson’s performative short film centers the history of the iconic Peacock Chair to interrogate contemporary social contexts and historical concepts of identities. The film engages the chair’s origins in forced prison labor in the Philippines, its status as an internationally traded “exotic” commodity, its use in portrait photography, and its associations with Black radical activists such as Huey P. Newton—to explore ideas of Black masculinities and resistance.
Through its filmic choreography of body and architecture, this work interweaves a nonlinear, experimental commentary on the American prison-industrial complex and the concept of the panopticon, and reflects both individual and governmental states of emergency. 


  • Runtime

    4 min
  • Country

    United States
  • Year of Presentation

  • Year of Production

  • Director

    James Gregory Atkinson
  • Cast

    Black Cracker
  • Production Company

    Forum Expanded, James Gregory Atkinson
  • Berlinale Section

    Forum Expanded
  • Berlinale Category

    Experimental Film