The landscape bears witness to the traumas and displacements of the people that move through it. Altered Landscapes is an immersive multimedia installation which traces a personal narrative through the scarred vistas of Europe in the midst of the largest mass migration in living memory.
For this exhibition delGado travelled to Greece, Macedonia and Calais to record the journeys taken by refugees. delGado has not filmed these 'invisible' people but the places they have passed through and the traces of their existence they have left. In place of the images proliferated by the media delGado presents fragments of experiences and fleeting moments that tell the human story of people caught in the unfolding sweep of history.
Through the use of video, photography, light and sound, Altered Landscapes takes the viewer on a journey. The viewer navigates the different elements in the gallery space absorbing the experiences of the refugees and witnessing the reshaping of the continent as Europe's horizons fill up with the authoritarian towers of a new militarised border control.
Inspired by the text The Metamorphosis by Czech writer Franz Kafka, and the anxiety ridden B-movie The Incredible shrinking man from 1956, the project centres on a personal diary from a narrator, a European subject, who is describing how his human identity is gradually eroded, being transformed into something else, as a response to the suffering he is viewing.
These reflections are provoked by the events and debates of the last few years around the refugee crisis and are contextualised in a landscape which is strongly embedded in our collective imagination: Greece with its Acropolis, the ancient citadel of Athens, and the birthplace of the democratic values and culture.
The main video installation is accompanied by an audio description available through headphones, and is screened with captions at regular intervals.
The INSIDE funding has provided us with a valuable opportunity to work with Juan delGado a London based artist with hearing impairment who explores themes of trauma, disability and dislocation. The fund has enabled us to co-commission his new film, Altered Landscapes, which will be launched at NAE in June 2017. In this project delGado continues his enquiry into personal narratives and the restrictions on movement, focusing on the ongoing influx of displaced people crossing from Turkey into Greece and Macedonia. As well as the financial support working with DASH has also provided us with a great opportunity to enhance our knowledge and skills in terms of working with disabled artists and audiences. Helping us to further grow our access programme aimed at engaging diverse audiences with different abilities. Therefore, bringing us closer to our ambition to share our passion for the visual arts and our exhibitions and events with as many as people as possible.
Armindokht Shooshtari - Producer – Touring & Creative Programmes.
Visit the INSIDE project page for more information.