We’re excited to present HYPERFATE, a form-bending meditation on rap, martyrdom, and destiny by artist Christelle Oyiri (aka CRYSTALLMESS). Mixing visual artifacts from her upbringing with rap ephemera, this short rumination on fate sees the filmmaker place her distant memories in conversation with objects from mass culture. Doing so, she arrives at a new understanding of rappers’ place in the present imaginary. It is our pleasure to team up with AIRTIME, a new alternative streaming platform, for our presentation of this otherworldly transmission.
Reflecting on rappers Tupac Shakur, PNB Rock, Pop Smoke, Takeoff and XXXTentacion’s untimely deaths, Oyiri asks, “Did these young shooting stars already know their fate?” After including images of a supernova at the beginning of HYPERFATE, her question carries an implicit cosmic weight. In her grievance, she cannot help but wonder if there’s an unexplainable prophecy at play in their deaths, as well as that of other young rappers. Her belief in this prophecy registers as a unique form of coping with this tragic history.
“HYPERFATE is a visual memento mori that questions the differences between notions of destiny and fate, asking: how did rap, synonymous (for me) with initiatory narratives and success, become a mortuary factory for ultimate tragic heroes? How much is due to determinism, and how much is the result of macabre prophecy?” CHRISTELLE OYIRI
As one of the universal unknowns, death exists as a great source of fear and curiosity. Outer space occupies a similar place in the minds of many. By drawing parallels between these two anxiety-inducing frontiers of human knowledge in her film, Oyiri manages to make them more digestible. HYPERFATE confronts death directly and transcends it. To quote Oyiri’s remarks on her own success and survival as a young Black artist coming from a working class background, “I beat the odds.”
The Paris-based artist extraordinaire Christelle Oyiri, also known as CRYSTALLMESS, works across several mediums. As a DJ, she has performed at most of today’s leading music spaces — Berghain, MoMA PS1, Yu Yu — and released music on Berlin-based record label PAN. Her artworks have shown at Lafayette Anticipations, and Ars Electronica among others. Oyiri’s films have played as part of her exhibitions and streamed via The Kitchen’s ON SCREEN platform and Auto Italia’s Blog. She was recently featured during Frank Ocean’s Coachella performance, is currently on a European music tour, and is premiering a new performance at Serpentine Gallery in October 2023.
Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer.