BALTIC Bites: Jane and Louise Wilson - Suspended Island

Publication Date 08 Aug 2018

Commissioned by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. This work is part of the Great Exhibition of the North. Access to Low Yard with kind permission of Newcastle upon Tyne Trinity House.

Jane and Louise Wilson (b. Newcastle upon Tyne, 1967) began working together in 1989. They use lm, photography and sculpture to create arresting and atmospheric installations that grapple with often challenging subject matter. Suspended Island is their rst outdoor commission. The location of this work at Low Yard, part of Trinity House, is signi cant. A Royal Charter was granted by Henry VIII to the Corporation of Trinity House in 1514 and it has been concerned with the safety of shipping and the well-being of seafarers ever since. Ships and seafarers from all over the world depend upon Trinity House’s reliable aids to navigation for their safe passage into the UK’s ports and harbours.

Using filmed footage shot in 2004 documenting the now abandoned coastal fortifications on Governors Island off the coast of Manhattan, New York. The island was formerly home to the United States Coast Guard, before being decommissioned in 1996.

Suspended Island weaves together footage from Governors Island and the Palace of Westminster, Parliament alongside animation featuring the artefacts found inside Trinity House and a newly commissioned text by the author Vesna Maric who came to the U.K. as a refugee from Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992.

The soundtrack on Suspended Island riffs with the Calvinist hymn We’ve Sighted the Golden Gate taken from a 1948 recording sung by the artist’s grandmother and her siblings. The work uncovers a relationship between its site on the Newcastle upon Tyne Quayside, Governors Island and Parliament.

“We are particularly interested in what happens when the geography of a location takes on a porous identity, or becomes a place outside its own border and in particular this idea of ‘a suspended island’.”
The image of an island – as something that is at once cut off and yet connected – is particularly resonant, raising questions of what it means to British and what it means to be northern.

Format MPEG 4
Related Artist Jane and Louise Wilson
Related Events Jane and Louise Wilson: Suspended Island (22 June – 9 September 2018), Great Exhibition of the North (22 June – 9 September 2018)
Related Gallery BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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