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Presentation: 02. June 2005, 20.00
Utilising material edited from Indian and Western cinema and TV, with footage shot in the Indian study collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum London, the video provides a commentary on the construction of cultural history using a shared cinematic language.

Video still
Jonathan Faiers, Shawl (2002), Indian Study Collection at the Victor and Albert Museum, London

The moments of musical eruption that characterise both Bollywood and Hollywood musicals are juxtaposed with historical imagery and then re-edited with new soundtracks to reinforce the fictive operation of all representation. Assumed differences between fictional film, narratives and the documentary collapse as the images proliferate, unsettling the theoretical divisions between discrete bodies of information such as textile history, Anglo-Indian colonial relationships and musical hybridisation. By dispersing and regrouping images, the work replicates the actual process by which we understand socio-historical institutions and practices, where knowledge is initially assimilated, forgotten, recalled etc. The video employs a central visual metaphor of the Kashmir Shawl to reflect the processes of appropriation, absorption and adaptation, encapsulated within the desire of the West for a specific Indian artefact. Shawl joins a body of work that uses a reconstructed textile archaeology to interrogate how we access and assimilate “history”.

Video still
Jonathan Faiers, Shawl (2002), (Film still from North West Frontier, dir. J. Lee Thompson, 1959)

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