Materials: wood, cardboard, polystyrene, metal, clouts, 2x HD projectors, metal masks, 2x macmini, 2 x 27minute HD films, stereo sound delivered through headphones on internal gallery system (The O). 22 minute 5.1 sound installation in the tunnel and a collection of 16 figurehead drawings.
MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Nowhere less now² is the second chapter in a trilogy, the first part of which was exhibited in the Tin Tabernacle, Kilburn, London. The history of this prefabricated corrugated church leads us to Australia where the Kilburn church had spawned six buildings of the same date and type, all shipped in the late nineteenth century, to the opposite side of the planet, to lead a synchronous but remote life.
This multifaceted work does have the semblance of a conventional story which emerges from a family photograph of a relative. The viewer learns some facts through an array of voices – Seers' great great uncle George was an able seaman who died in Tanzanian waters whilst serving on HMS Kingfisher trying to liberate slaves. Oddly this uncle had to two differently coloured eyes (a condition called heterochromia) and also had a cousin of the same name who was sailing on a sister-ship to the Kingfisher, HMS Penguin in the Indian Ocean. This cousin George, a nailmaker in London, ended his days in Queenstown in Australia. But the story contains so much more than these points; the story is also the story of the making of a work.
Moving across time the work is partly set in the future where another George with heterochromia searches his genetic heritage in a world without archives. These narrative streams move across the spherical convex and concave screens of the installation like a phantasmagoria. The flow of images slip into abstraction and reform into footage snatched as Seers journeys to Africa and Australia to find any relevant traces.
To make the work Seers uses a number of methods, one of these is to behave like a private investigator hunting down the truth of events, hence she ensconced herself in the National Archive in London for months and worked through thousands of boxed photographs which were all copyrighted in the period looking for her relative. She constrains the work around dates such as 1866, (1890), 1966, 2666; birth dates, dates of photographs, a possible future and historical events all elide and bunch at these points in time. The Kilburn church, her Uncle, Henry Morton Stanely and a future George all hit these nodes and so they can enter the work. (The most photographed man of 1890/91 was Henry Morton Stanley.) Finally she found her uncle George standing behind Stanley in Zanzibar in a group photograph in one of the boxes. Coincidently her own family photograph of George was also taken in Zanzibar at the same time (1890). Further images also dated 1890 of George and shipmates also came to light in the National Maritime Museum Archive in London. This is all fuel for the fire.
The film flows through associations and facts in a flux that attempts to mirror the way the mind might work – oscillating and ruminating in a fractured pattern – trying to unearth something, to answer questions. It also searches for the way duration may operate, correlating differnt registers of experience across space through different modes of understanding – in the body and subconscious.
The physical structures the works are contained within are not in excess of the film, they are a skin for the story. The upturned ship which contains the film is embellished with a figurehead based on eighteenth century figurehead drawings she discovered in a collection held in Tasmania (originally made in Plymouth UK). This figurehead comes to life in the film, wrestling with a snake.
Seers continues to work with narrative as it may arise in consciousness and memory rather than how it is usually depicted/translated in film and television with goal driven simple plot arches. The embodiment of her work – found in the techniques used to film and the embodiment of the audiences experience through installation are all an extension of this attempt to address narratives relationship to the mind without reducing this bundle of threads to a singular story. Her narratives combine those of making the work and watching the work as well as those of the imagery/soundscape of the work – all of which are interlinked at every level in a non-hierarchical system.