Seven London based artists use film, video and photography to explore domestic idylls and ornamentation; human interventions in the environment and sites of past conflict and impending threat.
Maria Benjamin’s interests centre on manifestations of land use, in particular, an individual's endeavour to represent inscapes (interior landscapes) within the physical landscape. The word landscape derives from the meaning laboured earth, a term which could also express the historic and contemporary mythologies imbued on a physical space as an abstract way to 'own' or understand the landscape. Maria’s work brings these two uses of the term together within the small-scale event.
Over the last five years Dean Hollowood has been documenting the River Lea as it flows through Hackney Marshes. Drawn to the unique beauty of the area: a ‘tropical backwater’, thriving despite years of neglect. Focusing down into the waters edge, the confined view frames the tidal debris caught in the branches of willow trees: signifiers of both decay and rejuvenation. Plans for the Olympics will transform this lost wilderness into a huge carpark.
The skyline of Los Angeles is identified by its palm trees and like most of its inhabitants its population of trees are from elsewhere, immigrants. The city receives a continuous face lift with its mature size palms being undug, beautified and replanted. This video is a harrowing observation of the uprooting process of one such tree.
Haunted by a curious site in his home county of Lincolnshire, Toby Smith obsessively re-visited and photographed the scene during different seasons and lighting conditions. A single shot drawn from over 250, represents final closure of the project. The history and function of the objects remain a mystery to the viewer if only to inspire a fraction of the obsession.
In the months following Hurricane Katrina, it was almost impossible to take a photograph of New Orleans that did not depict epic destruction, “Acts of God.” This diptych memorialises the city’s loss more obliquely. The funerary arrangements sidestep sensationalism by containing the feeling of loss in a ritualised materiality—overblown flower arrangements designed to look better dead than alive.
Shot on Super 8 "Aground" is a film installation about an actor acting, showing multiple scene takes, the drama edited out, showing the moments when the actor struggles in and out of character. Accompanied by a soundtrack by ‘bender’ a musical collaboration featuring Geraldine Swayne, James Johnston and Steve Gullick.
Tomoko Yoneda’s ‘Scenes’ are photographs of meta-narratives articulated through the site and context of memory and place. Her post-conflict landscapes and seascapes remind us of the complex and often hideous layers of history that lie beneath the serenity of surface. Yoneda’s ‘objective’ sense of detachment belies her optimistic vision which leads us to consider if it is the looking that liberates us, and the looking that carries hope.