Uncertain Subjects, Art Night, London 2018

Never before has the circulation of representations of the self and that of others been as ubiquitous as it is now. Whether cause or symptom, it is evidence that complexities related to identity and difference have again risen to the fore of social and political discourse. This wider context of constantly intensifying, and sometimes violent contest over identities is, amongst other conditions, inextricably linked with the blurring of local and global scales, with the dilution of borders, regions and communities and with conceptions of nationhood and associated entitlements. These new understandings of space, accelerated by the innovation of photographic technologies and their pervasive circulation, bring with them the fear of loosing something in the process; identity, a sense of belonging, local culture, and individuality amongst others. In the process photography becomes complicit in the construction of these new identifications of the self and associated frictions.

Set against the background of this wider crisis of understandings and interpretations of identity and nationhood, Uncertain Subjectsto date comprises a series of five distinct works, including a mail-art project (2017), three public performances (2018-2019) and a long term billboard installation. These related works have been developed in response to the complex social and political landscape created by the processes associated with the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union; an unprecedented political situationrife with controversyaggravated by a succession of contentious political actions. Previously unacceptable practices included the promotion of national sentiment instrumentalised by the leave campaign, the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica, associated with the breaking of electoral law by exceeding legal spending limits, and culminating in the proroguing of parliament unanimously deemed unlawful by the House of Lords. 

It was this unique set of circumstances, that brought to the fore complex positions surrounding identity and nationhood as well as the cracks and weaknesses of our democratic society in the face of the rise of populism, that provided the starting point for the works developed as part of Uncertain Subjects.