Suspended Agency - an installation by Peter Wareing

Still (detail) from Suspended Agency (2019) Peter Wareing

Curated by CIRCUIT Director Mark Williams and presented by the Govett Brewster Art Gallery, Suspended Agency is a major new video installation by New Zealander Peter Wareing now showing 6 April-21 July 2019 at Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth.

Shot and edited over the past three years in Dagenham - a London Borough which voted overwhelmingly for Brexit - Suspended Agency follows a small cast of individuals occupying the margins of the city. Walking through underpasses, standing by the highway, picking up discarded trash that may suggest some portent or sign, each character appears to inhabit a state of paralysis. Why are they here? Why can’t they move on? What is real and what is imagined? 

Periodically, Wareing’s cast of individuals break the spell of their eternal present to read passages of script from Alphaville, the 1965 French science fiction film noir directed by Jean-Luc Godard. Alphaville follows the adventures of Lemmy Caution, a secret agent whose mission is to destroy Alpha 60, a computer which has outlawed free thought and individualist concepts such as love, poetry, and emotion. In juxtaposing Alphaville with Brexit, Wareing uses fiction as a tool for examining a distinctly modern condition; individual and collective passivity and numbness in the face of increasing political and economic insecurity.

Peter Wareing is a New Zealand artist currently based in London. Over the past 25 years he has lived mostly in New York, where his worked has explored the life of individuals in an age of hyper capitalism. Suspended Agency is the culmination of two previous projects by Wareing developed over the past 3 years including a single channel film by shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2016, a subsequent installation shown by CIRCUIT in 2017, and now a four screen installation work which includes over four hours of footage shot in Dagenham up until the month of opening at the Govett Brewster. Presented by the Govett Brewster as part of their ongoing Projection Series, Suspended Agency is accompanied by a publication featuring an essay by Megan Dunn and an interview with Peter Wareing by Mark Williams.

Peter Wareing will be in New Plymouth for the installation of Suspended Agency and associated public programmes. See some of Peter's previous work here. See Suspended Agency on the Govett Brewster site here.