Acquisition – Curator Simon Groom – Selectors Catherine Yass & Edmund de Waal – University of Cambridge – 2004
Echoing themes of encounter and the crossing of the geographical and cultural surfaces of another people the installation Acquisition comments on indigenous culture as a currency within the local/global tourism market as consumable imagery, performed, displayed and collected, nourishing a desire for mementos seemingly representing the quintessential ‘real thing’.
Acquisition is underpinned by examining the relation between tourism and ethnography through a series of printing and etched glass/mirrored objects and video scape, whereby the traditional ethnographic record is reconstituted with a dependency on differing levels of transparency and multiple readings.
Acquisition operates to disrupt the viewers’ expectations by drawing on the blurring of boundaries between fact and fiction associated with the ethnographic museums’ and tourism industries’ public displays, which accentuate a sense of nostalgia and encounter with the exotic other, devices increasingly synonymous with a heady mix of signals constructed within a competitive global heritage, leisure and tourism industry.
Cassareep Matapi – Discussion with the Guyanese Craft Dealer Mr Rambissoon, Guyana – ©SALT glass studios
The installation draws from dialogues with Amerindian communities and craft dealers in Guyana exploring the complex trajectories of Amerindian culture and bitter cassava artifacts growing vested role in the global tourist, heritage and art markets.
The installation of glass and mirrored printed and etched objects and video projection expose different levels of transparency and authenticities drawn from 19th century explorers to 21st century eco-tourists’ nostalgia, rooted in a desire for the uncontaminated and pure that has motivated travellers to the New World.