Who, What, where, when, why and How, 2009 (video still), video, three channel projection, 45:00 minutes, sound, courtesy of the artist, photography: Nicki Musgrave
In collaboration with Steve Rushton
This work features two carefully dressed actors, who seemingly play the roles of two political opponents delivering public speeches. Limp, black flags that represent no particular affiliation hang behind their wooden podiums. Their speeches, which sound vaguely familiar, impart a combined sense of security, awe, and national unity; in reality, however, they are composed of excerpts culled from various historical speeches made between the period of the Cold War and the present. Rather than actually representing opposing political views, these speeches follow the same pattern: they begin with a declaration of peace, continue with the description of a conflict, and end with a declaration of victory. Every time one cycle of speeches ends, the speakers exchange places in a manner reminiscent of absurdist plays. As a result, their statements lose much of their effectiveness, and are emptied of meaning. In this manner, the work captures various mechanisms of social identification; at the same time, they reveal how collective unity is based on a historical narrative whose artificial and invented aspects are clearly detectable.
Born in England, 1965; lives and works in Bristol and London