George Barber – Alula Dream


Chapter Arts: 01/10/15 – 10/01/16

Originally a pioneer of Scratch Video, Artist George Barber’s exhibition holds you captivated. Although I did not have much time in this exhibition I will be going back again before it ends to give it the time it deserves.

Barbers medium consists of found and spliced video clips, monologue, sound, looping video, repeated video that all come together to make a completely new and coherient and current narrative. These powerful pieces have recognisable themes that are very relevant to todays society even though the medium may be from a different time.

The three pieces I got to engage with were ‘Fences Make Senses’, ‘Alula Dream’ and ‘Shouting Match’.

My favourite being Akula Dream, which is not to say the others were not just as brilliant and I have yet to see ‘The Firestone Drone’ that others have said that I really rather should.


Akula Dream

I will refrain from saying too much about all these works as I do not want to give too much away. I will say however that when I donned the headphones and took my seat almost immediately I became transfixed by this piece. I became a part of it, it enveloped me. I found it very moving to the point of tears. (I quite emotive at times) To me this piece really reached out to me and in to me. Absorbing, enlightening and humbling….a lesson in mindfulness.

Fences Make Senses 

This well considered piece responds to the current refugee crisis. There is no doubt as to what message it carries. Using found and made footage and narration the artist recreates real situation where you see people reaching out for assistant and treated in an often blasé manner.  I wonder does he do this to make us question how we have become seemingly removed from human suffering due to the dehumanising and normalising of it through media. Are we just accepting that  ‘that is just the way things are now’?  He has also recreated some of the situations that a refugee might find themselves in, i.e. ‘purchasing a boat’ to escape in. This is done in a satirical way, it is an odd juxtaposition that is quite jarring but powerful.

The space in which the piece is displayed adds to the experience. Well conceived and presented.

Shouting Match

I believe this piece represents how modern society seems to be gagged. Possibly self imposed gagging? We like to talk about what is wrong with the world but in quite corners and hushed conversations within our own social circles. It could also be a case of people being rightly afraid to speak out within controlling regimes. Is the artist telling us to shout more, to make our concerns about the injustices in the world heard? If we do perhaps we could come together in open dialogue and work together to resolve major crisis.





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