Sensing Obscurity (I, II, III) is a project by Erika Tan that questions ‘what happens to symbols of cultural dominance when the world order shifts?’
The project seeks a post-colonial reclamation to the possibility of telling stories through the use of a multiplicity of narrative devices. The premise is that it is in the way that histories/stories are told that produces and re-produces untold stories, narratives and events. Set in Saltram House, an English Manor House (now National Trust property), the film takes place ‘some point in the not so distant future’, at a moment in time when Chinas ascendance as a global power has given rise to an opportunity to re-visit history differently. Using a mixture of documentary and narrative film tropes, the cut and paste aesthetics of hip-hop and chinoiserie; Saltram House, history as we know it under-goes a slippery transition in an attempt to remain relevant and shore-up its status as cultural capital. References to past events, unfolding archaeologies, recurring cinematic specters (Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility was filmed here in 1995) and the re-enactments and enactment of relational positionings.
Sensing Obscurity (I, II, III) is a work in three parts. A 2-channel installation, which is located entirely within the hermetically ‘sealed’ interior of Saltram house. The second, a spatio-temporally deferred work disseminated through a form of digital bootlegging; and the final work which explores the format of citation, reproduction, mimicry, piracy and uses the motif of spinning encountered within each work to contemplate the continuities of history and the impossibilities of dis-entanglement.
Sensing Obscurity I: The Manor House; English Literature; artefacts and the performativity of objects; contrapuntal readings; and looking inwards backwards. Duration: 28.31min. Medium: 2-channel HDV projection, 4 track audio, looped
Sensing Obscurity II: The Chinese Chippendales. Duration: 1.30min. Medium: streamed video with bootleg DVD http://thechinesechippendales.blogspot.co.uk
Sensing Obscurity III: “After” Chinoiserie. Duration: 5.40min. Medium: single channel HDV. A collaborative work with Neil Rose.
The work will be shown for the next 12 weeks in Plymouth as part of Sinopticon.
Find out more: