Wherever you go… you take the weather with you
Two screen video installation, rose petals, rose perfume 2006

Enchanted Forest installation shot 1

“Wherever you go…” is a two screen video installation which juxtaposes footage shot on location on the banks of the River Thames at Twickenham, London, with footage of clouds of water vapour forming over the USA, grabbed from a weather channel broadcasting live on the web. The images are shown on separate, small, free standing DVD players, set side by side on a bed of rose petals, scented with rose perfume.

The piece is a tribute to and an elegy for all those who have been forced to leave their homelands and begin new lives in distant countries. It refers in particular to emigration from the Old World to the New World, from Europe to the United States. The rose petals seen floating on the Thames on the screen on the right are being carried along towards the mouth of the river and the open sea, the gateway to America, glimpsed on the screen on the left as a red outline map beneath the swirling clouds of water vapour.

Travelling across the great ocean, the exiles were both dependent on and potential victims of the natural forces of wind and water, which both sped them on their way and could also, so very easily, overturn their ships and bring them to disaster. All exiles face such dangers, and the longed-for refuge often proves less welcoming than they had hoped for. Exiles from revolutionary France called their settlement in Canada “Acadie”. Driven from there by British forces, they sailed to New Orleans and settled again in Louisiana, founding the Cajun culture, now famed for its music, such as the haunting “Creole Blues” which forms part of the soundtrack for the installation. In 2005, New Orleans itself, which had sheltered so many from so far for so long, was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, produced by forces of wind and water just like those whose satellite images appear like so many swirling, abstract shapes on the video screen.

The installation was exhibited in “Migration and Exile”, the second part of the “In Arcadia” exhibition at Orleans House, at Twickenham near London, summer 2006.

“A beautiful and moving work, reminiscent of diptych paintings…” David Medalla

Video and music recording, digital image manipulation:
Michael Cheetham’s Wizden Wow Works
Music: Creole Blues, Wayne Perry.
Recorded in SW Louisiana, 1934.
Reissued on Early American Cajun Music, Yazoo CD 2042.
With thanks to Crowded House, “Weather with you” from “Woodface,” Capitol, 1991.

Dedicated to the people of New Orleans, past, present and future…

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