Dual-Projection Installation with found objects
This work was installed and experienced in a white-cube, institutional setting, and took place as an open-crit with the idea of conversation around the ideas encouraged. This is particularly true to and important to the nature of Caribbean art as it focuses on ideas of dissemination and access – stressing the latter as it is a common issue in the region. It is a dual-screen projection installation consisting of two cut pallets facing each other, draped in a sheer canvas that allows for back-projection of the image. On one side is a video of the remains of a ship prop from Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’ that has fallen to ruin in the ocean on the side of the open-water tank in which many scenes of the movie were filmed. On the other side is another video, this one depicting a rusted tin can salvaged from the site, displaced from its original setting and filmed on a plinth moving in time to the waves of the video parallel to it – both videos play in forward and in reverse. The sound of waves from the site of the tank are also present in this work, in this setting alien to it, it is displaced.
Exploration into the site in-and-around the Collyer Tank of Grand Bahama Island is what served as the driving force for the entire project. It is a quintessential example of what can be viewed as a contemporary occurrence of colonization – of neocolonialisation. The production of the film was agreed upon and there were talks made around the use of the site post-production to better the area’s economy. Talks of a ‘Bahamian Village’ and ‘IMAX 3D’ theatre at the site were brought up – and almost 10 years later there is nothing but a rusted tank eating away at the natural landscape and ruining the beautiful beach profile that the islands are known for.
Film production in natural settings tend to never have ecological or geographical impacts in mind. They are invasive and destructive and often leave behind rusted, modern-ruins such as this. In agreement to use the land, development was to take place – and the government has done nothing to call for justice about it. In the same vein as this work, the government and the people of the Bahamas are often passive, it’s often a pattern of: complain, yell, get upset – but little more than that ever gets done. For me, the Bahamas has become a country to be walked-over yet again – and it isn’t entirely the companies who come through and exploit that are to blame as the country gives consent through their silence and lack of action. However, the fact that developing countries must fit into the capitalist model of developed countries, of the hegemonic centres as necolonialism suggests, is the primary source of difficulty – the country must fit into a model that does not entirely suit it and ‘make do’.
The work takes its name from the first official motto of the Bahamas, seen on its first flag, when it was still under British rule and has since changed after the country gained independence. “Expulsis Piratis, Restituta Commercia” quite literally translates to “Pirates Expelled, Commerce Restored”… But has this truly happened?