Ask the Dust (2016)
Carousel slide projector and 81 x 35mm photographic slides, each containing dust taken from inside the barrel of a cannon (captured from the Chinese in 1860 during the Second Opium War) held in the Beaney Museum’s storage, Canterbury, Kent.
Duration 5 mins
A slide projector back-projects ‘images’ of dust ‘explosions’ onto a window blind in the Beaney Museum’s Explorers and Collectors gallery, sharing this ‘screen’ with moving patches of sunlight, channeled by a large, ornate window. A signalling into the museum from beyond its walls.
The dust silhouettes are formed by tiny particles of debris, decay collected from the barrel of a cannon (captured from the Chinese during the Second Opium War, 1860) stored in the Beaney Museum’s archives. Their apparently random arrangements, suspended in 35mm film slide mounts, now magnified, offer the possibility of being decoded and read, like tea leaves, as premonitions or becoming the animated frames from a recording of Chinese shadow puppet performance.
Installation images from Stories in the Dark: Contemporary Responses to the Magic Lantern at The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, curated by Ben Judd (with Jordan Baseman, Adam Chodzko, Benedict Drew, Louisa Fairclough, Dryden Goodwin, Haroon Mirza, Lindsay Seers, and Guy Sherwin.)