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Pariah
Mixed Media Installation
5×3.5×3.5m
2018

In ‘Pariah’ I created a theatre set from degraded and abandoned objects such as wood, metal and other materials. Constructed into an enclosed L shape to look like an outdoor urban/street environment. I provided cues to the fictional, such as using stage lighting, big supports and sandbags, so it becomes obvious that it is a stage set and therefore make-believe. Most of the materials and even some of the electronics were found and recycled to make the set, giving the piece a well-worn look, used as a symbol of degradation of a post-industrial, consumerist society. Becoming relics of the past while also holding an ethos of sustainability.

The use of time and a cross over of fiction/non fiction is something I explore in my piece ‘Pariah’. Because some of my work tends to challenge ways of being, I find that people don’t even want to fathom what I am suggesting. They put up barriers and refuse to remain open, the supposed fictitious is key. Here I can fall back on my experience having worked part time assembling theatre sets for most of the West End of London, being behind the scenes and seeing how they blur the lines between reality and fantasy. While playing on contemporary means, I extravagate these mechanisms in an attempt to emulate this masterful illusion, to keep the audience ‘safe’. As, if it is fictional, it can’t affect them. Although like anecdotes, myths and films, those that are open can pick up the message, those that aren’t will hopefully retain it unconsciously.

In addition, dressed up like an old hermit or drifter, I enact a performance; reading through books and scribbling notes on paper. The books are those that I have read that have, through a cumulative effect, made up my artworks, my thoughts, my world and my consciousness. Upon gathering a handful of insights I then walk around handing the pieces of paper out, with the sincere intention to pass this knowledge on. The performance becomes a different way of approaching the reiteration of knowledge that was getting lost within my earlier paintings, it is more subtle, yet more direct.

As a metanarrative, filmed with CCTV in my studio, shown on a monitor on the set, was a loop of a ‘being’ in a strange hooded costume covered in abstract symbols, wearing a mask, building the set somewhere in a different dimension. The idea of this ‘being’ is loosely based on a film called Dark City (Movieclips Classic Trailers, 2014) ‘John Murdoch …. stumbles upon a fiendish underworld controlled by a group of beings known as The Strangers who possess the ability to put people to sleep and alter the city and its inhabitants.’ (IMDb, 2018) In my video, the being is something/one that lives hidden behind reality yet creating its physicality.

The soundtrack, which accompanies the video, is known as a descending shepherd’s tone, which gives the nauseating, uneasy feeling of continuously falling down a rabbit hole.

There was also live feed CCTV in the space capturing the exhibition goers and displayed on a monitor ‘backstage’ yet on display. In Britain, (CCTV) has become commonplace, an everyday encounter, yet here the camera’s act as technological tools for self-awareness, self-reflection, symbolic of ideas of mindfulness.

The title of the piece ‘Pariah’ (outcast) points to a personal reflection on how the institution had made me feel while dealing with my chosen contexts of the esoteric and transcendental. At the time I had been told to take these contexts (the basis of my work) out of my work because I’ll alienate my audience, and that the spiritual no longer belongs in art as it is too subjective and perhaps should remain in the realms of ‘outsider art’ so I decided to embody the outsider.