Ou-Boum 2011

I employ an Indian labourer to walk through Kolkata with a mirror on his back. I follow him, filming my own reflection.

In this work, the problem of the colonial gaze is performed to the camera. The attempt for a British tourist to see Kolkata is complicated by a history of imperialist domination. He can only depict the landscape through an Orientalist prism which reproduces histories of oppression. Ultimately, he can only see himself.  The title references the climax of E. M. Forster’s novel ‘A Passage to India’.

In this work, a British woman visits a cave where her sense of rationality is dissolved. An echo reduces everything to one sound: ou-boum. ‘The echo began in some indescribable way to undermine her hold on life.’ This reductive echo reveals the limitations of imperial logic. Suddenly Britain’s colonisation of India seems futile to the novel’s protagonist; it simply echoes back her fearful illusions.    

Media : Digital video (10 mins)