Turner Contemporary, Margate

Materials: Vinyl spheres inflated with air, cord, HD video projection, radio headphones with stereo sound track, metal projection mask.

Secret location within Turner Contemporary, Margate

Lindsay Seers’ work operates in a world where everything is connected, and not just by chance. In her new film installation Entangled² she returns, as she often does, to her family history. Seers is fascinated by her great-great uncle’s condition heterochromia, where different coloured eyes result from one twin subsuming the other in the womb. Seers has explored her uncle’s biography in previous works such as Monocular, 2011, and an on-going project in Zanzibar, where he was stationed as a seaman.

Coincidentally this uncle grew up at the same time and in the same town as the entertainer Vesta Tilley. Tilley became a popular entertainer who adopted male personas throughout her career in the British music hall during the early 20th century, dressing as a dandy or a sailor and singing love songs to the ladies. Tilly and also Hetty King, another important historical male impersonator, became focal points for a journey involving Seers’ chance meeting with one of the singers in Entangled². The singer left a career in opera to perform as Tilley and King, an experience she narrates in the film. Seers’ research into and travels to Margate drew her to the Theatre Royal and Winter Gardens, two great entertainment venues bound up in Margate’s cultural identity and history; she discovered that Tilley and King had both appeared in these venues.

Seers develops these stories into a highly personal narrative, drawing on her interest in philosophy, science, cinematic and photographic technologies. She films the opera singer and her ‘double’ on stage in these two magnificent theatres, bringing the acts of Tilley and King back to town. The image is projected onto two floating spheres, where mesmerising images of doubled identities and subtle difference, witty coincidences and surprising animations are coupled with a haunting soundtrack.

Commissioned and curated by Jacqui Davies, University for the Creative Arts (School of Fine Arts) and Turner Contemporary.