Entities/SCRAM (2004), a number of work groups collected under titles such as If
I was an Orientalist today; If I was Emile Nolde today and If I was Michèl Leiris today (2001-4), Phantom
Foreign Vienna (1992/2003) and Traveller’s
Tales (2003) are examples of captioning (photographs) and commentary (moving images) used so as to reflect not only the contents of the works
but the position of the (white, Western) artist and the medium itself.
Thus the central ambiguity of photographic images lies in their inherent malleability,
their superficial imitation of reality and their simultaneous distancing from it in time, technical characteristics and formal language and also,
very often, their in-built lack of definitive context thus allowing the image to be interpreted in contrary ways.
On the other hand, for an artist (or anyone else working with images) this is precisely their strength - amateur holiday films can
be re-structured into an investigation of the phenomenon of migration, documentary out-takes can be reformulated into a consideration of who travels,
why and what significance can be attached to that definition. In this way we can reassess our perceptions of ourselves in relation to other cultures
can be examined, theorised and commented from a historical (political, colonial, art) standpoint. Quoting from the past is a way of examining present.
As historian Jacques
Le Goff once argued, those who control the past are in the process of controlling the future by shaping our perception of the present. Therefore
any use of historical material in our work is in the form of interrogating the received wisdom of historical interpretation, opening it up a little in
order to examine certain assumptions about the subject and ourselves.