VENUE: UNSW, Art and Design, Paddington Campus
216 Westbound examines the physical and psychological effect of a terrorist attack at the level of embodied experience, media reporting and the machinery of State control.
The video by Shona Illingworth explores how the effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) experienced by John Tulloch, an Australian survivor of 7/7 London bombings, can amplify another, less visible but powerful effect of the attacks: the mapping of a topography of latent threat and fear onto space. The explosion caused dramatic shifts in John’s sensory perception of time and space, his body embedded with fragments of glass, his eardrums ruptured, he is unable to look up at the sky.
The assault on his body and sense of self was further exacerbated through the subsequent global media dissemination of an image of his injured body, which was used to promote the 90 days without charge anti-terror bill, a move that he strenuously opposed. The video moves from trauma trapped inside the body through the loss of agency and appropriation of voice to the institution of State powers of constraint and examines the intensification of a sense of threat, diminished personal space, and the hyper-vigilance that results.
Banner image credit: Shona Illingworth, 216 Westbound 2014. Digital video still. Commissioned by Animate Projects.
Shona Illingworth is a Danish Scottish artist who works across a range of media including video, sound, photography and drawing. She is known for her immersive video and multi-channel sound installations, and evocative, research-led practice in which she explores the dynamic processes of memory, cultural erasure and construction of histories in situations of social tension and trauma. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with shows at the Museum of Modern Art, Bologna, FACT, Liverpool, UNSW Galleries, Sydney and the Wellcome Collection, London. She has received high profile commissions from Film and Video Umbrella, the Hayward Gallery, London and Channel 4 Television. Upcoming exhibitions include the Imperial War Museum, London, and a book on her recent work will be published in 2018.