Gulliver is a new body of work I am developing during 2014-15. The work combines archive film, sculptural forms and electronics and is the result of an ongoing research and making process which originated in footage of Ebbw Vale Steelworks dating from 1918. The archive film, from the Ebbw Vale Works Archival Trust depicts the lives of individuals working in a landscape desolated by industry. For me, the film has a relationship to Georges Méliès 1902 film ‘Le Voyage dans la Lune’ (the progenitor of the science fiction film) in which gentlemen scientists escape a polluted industrial landscape in order to explore a fictionalised lunar one. In the UK as in much of the western world, we have ‘escaped’ those same landscapes by transferring manufacturing industry to the other side of the world. A process which desolates post industrial communities in the west as it degrades the environment in the east. In Sichuan province in China the smog created by heavy industry is often severe enough to partially obscure the moon and stars (http://bit.ly/13ht4sc).
Gulliver is a hallucination of the west’s industrial past. Dust pervades the work – as residue of industry; alive in the smog of the present and as a blanket which smooths the sharper angles of a fiction.
The project originates in research undertaken for a project called Ghost Parade (2012). Ghost Parade was a large scale, public event commissioned by Marc Rees for Adain Avion in Ebbw Vale and which formed part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The event involved considerable archival research in the Ebbw Vale area which revealed a wealth of moving image materials, some dating back to 1918. Only a fraction of these materials came to be used in Ghost Parade.