"If I was a Tory how would you win me over?”
In this speculative urban documentary, Peter Wareing juxtaposes fictional scenes shot in the London Borough of Dagenham with documentary interviews of volunteers from the recent political campaigns of Bernie Sanders (USA) and Jeremy Corbyn (UK). The two interviewees discuss their path to political engagement, from working in single cause issues such as fracking to joining the British Labour and American Democratic parties as doorknocking campaigners for the general election.
Wareing's installation takes place across two rooms at the Canterbury Workers Education Association (WEA). Just as the installation takes place in different physical spaces, the interviewees are questioned by actors from the Dagenham drama, who take up this role as their real selves. Artist Peter Wareing describes the effect of combining these shifting registers together:
"... meaning is potentially subverted, whilst continuing to affirm the plastic, mutable, unpredictable and fictional potentials of the moving image. Perhaps this acts as an analogue to the contemporary western condition. That is, representations of unfixed spaces of divergent political forces, often in intractable contention with no apparent desire to forge a political meeting point, or even move towards any kind of connection."
Peter Wareing is a New Zealand artist who currently lives in London and previously spent 25 years living in the United States. Writer Tim Corballis describes Wareing's work as "addressing contradictions in the world: between insides and outsides, between lived experience and invisible systemic (or chemical) effects, between the cowboy myths or ‘rational’ discourses of a nation and their irrationalities and realities, the truths of its foreign policy or of its domestic streetscapes."
On Friday 25 August at 12.30pm Peter Wareing will take part in a conversation at the WEA with Jamie Hanton, the Director of Christchurch independent art space The Physics Room.
CIRCUIT Director Mark Williams says the Canterbury Workers Education Assocation (WEA) was an obvious site in which to present Wareing's work: "The WEA has a history of supporting working class engagement in the political process. Their model of peer-led exchange and discussion is a brilliant grassroots model for knowledge and self-empowerment. Historically film has also been part of their classes, so it's a perfect fit. We hope their members come along and see the installation."
CIRCUIT's partnership with the WEA also includes a one-off screening on Wednesday 23 August of the film Tonsler Park by Kevin Jerome Everson, which observes black workers recording the vote in the recent US election.
Peter Wareing's installation is presented by CIRCUIT in association with its annual symposium entitled The Thickness of Cinema, taking place this year on Saturday 26 August at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, with the support of Creative New Zealand, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Foundation, The Physics Room, Canada Council for the Arts, The Free Theatre and Canterbury Workers Education Association.