08.11.08 - 16.11.08
‘Plantation’ takes its title from the social and political events which took place in 16th and 17th century Ireland, when the sense of ownership and connectedness to place was disrupted and changed forever for whole communities in the north of the country. These events were the seeds, which would mature into the political climate of the 1970s and 1980s in which I was to grow up. During this time the escalating violence between nationalist and loyalist communities left large numbers of the population questioning their sense of national identity, and anger, loss and bereavement led to barriers of concrete and steel being put in the way of reconciliation and recovery.
‘Plantation’ is a six channel video installation filmed in a decaying woodland. As the camera rotates through 360 degrees the projected woodland slowly moves anti-clockwise around the gallery space over a 30 min time span. Shot in extreme close-up with a very shallow depth of field, the projected footage moves through moments of intangible physicality punctuated by moments of sharpness and clarity. Playing with stillness and movement the installation turns the everyday into a composition of abstractions.
Although ‘Plantation’ can be understood as a document of decaying woodland, it is also a symphony of silence and loss: a memorial of remembrance. An immersive, haunting enclosure where the warmth of the sun’s rays only momentarily reaches.
Through an extended (six channel) and abstracted (shallow depth of field) depiction of space, ‘Plantation’ turned the simple act of looking into a complex set of questions which exposed the deeper philosophical concepts associated with the acts of looking and seeing - where the act of looking brings into question dualities played out between the visible signifier (dead woodland) and the invisible signified (historical/political context). In this way, nature begins to lose its impact as simple physical encounter and becomes metaphoric - a means through which to open up an abstract set of exchanges and interpretations, foregrounding imagined rather than literally described space.