Gold is a moving-image (video) installation, with wall-mounted text panels. The work is based on the artist’s engagements with various terrains, including her own family’s section of a peat bog (Donegal, Ireland), fortifications and militarised checkpoints (Derry City, Northern Ireland – prior to the 1998 Good Friday
Agreement), and desert and mountain regions of central Australia.
Gold aims to conflate the figures of colonised and colonising subject. In the work, the artist views British colonialism, Irish emigration and the colonisation of Australia from a personal perspective, finding her first-hand experience of Australia an awkward fit with both colonialist and post-colonial readings of history. Whilst she can escape British colonialism, to enjoy the existential challenges of Australia, she is unable to disavow her knowledge of the othering of Australia via white colonialism, and the possibility that she perpetuates that very process by her actions as traveller and image maker.
In the installation, a large, central projection screen is flanked by two smaller screens. The singularity of the large projection is persistently disturbed by the visual ‘footnotes’ at each side.
The work is based on a number of the artist’s actions for and with the camera, which highlight contrasts between the land-types of western Ireland and central Australia, and suggest equivalences between desert forms and certain architectural features in Derry city. The status of these land- and cityscape features differs according to whether they are thought of as ‘natural’ or ‘cultural-political’ objects. Text panels show contrasting first-hand accounts of Australia from three sources: the letters of early white male colonists, the diaries of white female colonists, and Hegarty’s own notebooks.
Gold was first exhibited in Relocating History (Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast; Orchard Gallery, Derry; Camerawork, London; all 1993-4). Versions were included in From Beyond the Pale (IMMA 1994) and L’Imaginaire Irlandais (Gallerie des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1996). The work has been widely exhibited, internationally, in various configurations.
|Duration: 10 min
|For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].