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Vent and Mimesis

Erika Tan
2003
14.04 min. DVD single channel
single channel video work

Vent and Mimesis

Vent & Mimesis forms an approach or response to the issues of globalization, (the local and the global).

Created within the context of Britain and the current concerns with immigration and the growing number of asylum seekers and refugees within Britain, the work reflects a pervading anxiety with 'difference'. Despite the opening up of borders, the flow of goods, people and ideas that globalisation facilitates and depends on, the work chooses to explore the continual and extensive patrolling of borders with a focus on the more personal. Vent & Mimesis involves the artist and her 'dummy' rehearsing, reciting, and reconstructing a "pledge". Terminologies that form the backbone of the pledge, such as loyalty, obligation, allegiance, are exposed as culturally contingent terms. In 2001, the Home Office in the UK had under discussion the incorporation of a pledge for all new comers to the UK who sought permanent residence. The making of the work is not only a process of enactment but of re-enactment. A re-enactment of a site of power, ambiguity, control. The understanding of the spoken word in the work becomes contingent on an extra desire and patience to understand. Spoken backwards and then edited forwards, the texts slip between something audible and acceptable to something completely alien. Ventriloquism as stated in the dictionary is the act of making a voice sound as if it came from some other source - or 'else where'.

Commissioned by Judith Stewart as part of Strangers To Ourselves, Canterbury Art Gallery, Canterbury and St John Street, London.

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