What happens to symbols of cultural dominance when the world order shifts?
The project seeks a post-colonial reclamation to the possibility of telling stories through the use of a multiplicity of narrative devices. The premise is that it is in the way that histories/stories are told that produces and re-produces untold stories, narratives, and events. Set in Saltram House, an English Manor House (now National Trust property), the film takes place ‘some point in the not so distant future’, at a moment in time when Chinas ascendance as a global power has given rise to an opportunity to re-visit history differently. Using a mixture of documentary and narrative film tropes, the cut and paste aesthetics of hip-hop and chinoiserie; Saltram House, history as we know it undergoes a slippery transition in an attempt to remain relevant and shore-up its status as cultural capital. References to past events, unfolding archaeologies, recurring cinematic specters (Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility was filmed here in 1995) and the re-enactments and enactment of relational positionings.
Sensing Obscurity (I, II, III) is a work in three parts. A 2-channel installation, which is located entirely within the hermetically ‘sealed’ interior of Saltram house. The second, a spatio-temporally deferred work disseminated through a form of digital bootlegging; and the final work which explores the format of citation, reproduction, mimicry, piracy and uses the motif of spinning encountered within each work to contemplate the continuities of history and the impossibilities of dis-entanglement.
Commissioned by Eliza Gluckman for ‘Sinopticon: contemporary chinoiserie in contemporary art’, April - July 2012.
Produced in partnership with Saltram House, National Trust, Plymouth College of Art. Funded by Arts Council England, National Trust’s ‘Trust New Art’ programme, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery.