Creative Dundee

What Did The Building See?

Quite a lot it appears…

The fascinating new exhibition by Jane and Louise Wilson at the DCA in Dundee, looks at the sinister and disastrous, through a unique and often beautiful lens.

Now twenty five years on from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Jane and Louise Wilson were inspired by their trip to the almost entirely abandoned town of Pripyat, situated within the 30km wide Exclusion Zone. Atomgrad features large-scale photographic prints depicting deserted interiors from the town – an evacuated kindergarten; a haunted theatre and an abandoned swimming pool. Full of incredible textures, surfaces and patterns, it’s hard to remember that this is taken from one of the worst manmade disasters of all time – with the effects still being felt greatly today.

Their two-part film installation – What Did the Building See? was inspired by the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, a Hamas operative, in a Dubai hotel room in January 2010. Initially it was believed he died of natural causes, although it was only when officials watched the CCTV footage that it was revealed and opened as a murder investigation – still open and ongoing.

Jane and Louise started with this CCTV film, using this ‘scene of the crime’ as a basis to compile their own artistic investigation. They stayed in the hotel room Al-Mabhouh was assassinated – to show parts which weren’t captured by the footage, almost filling in the gaps of the story.

Filmed using specialist lenses, it is an intense and detailed study of the room; with extreme close-ups, the camera’s forensic eye examines the seemingly ordinary hotel interior – its carpets, curtains and furniture.

The accompanying police film composed of video from hundreds of surveillance cameras, follows the perpetrators’ journey from the airport to the site of the killing, stopping at the entrance to Room 230.  Each of the criminals is identified and tracked using face recognition technology – the footage has now been watched by millions around the world via YouTube.

And the UK thinks it has political challenges.Try and visit – it will stimulate your creative everything, hearts and minds.

Exhibition runs:   21 January – 25 March 2012
Jane & Louise Wilson 
DCA, 152 Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4DY
Tel: 01382 909900
Admission Free

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