Part 1 installation view at Furtherfield Gallery, London. Image: Pau Ross 2019
CIRCLE OF BLACKNESS
An exhibition installation captured in 3D and broadcast as a holographic image
"Elsa’s work is hauntingly beautiful and holds our British heritage to account through her unflinching narrative of the Black people who have lived in England for centuries but have gone unmentioned in our history" Ruth Jones, Artist, Curator and founder of The Agency of Visible Womxn
'Circle of Blackness' is an art installation commissioned by Furtherfield Gallery for Time Portals - a group exhibition responding to the 150th anniversary of Finsbury Park by travelling through its past and future. The exhibition is inspired by the work of Octavia E Butler. Butler had a vision of time as circular, giving meaning to acts of courage and persistence. In the face of social and environmental injustice, setbacks are guaranteed, no gains are made or held without struggle, but societal woes will pass and our time will come again. In this sense, history offers solace, inspiration, and perhaps even a prediction of what to prepare for.
Through local research conducted by Black British History specialist S. I. Martin, the piece embodies the historical story of Anne E. Styles (1821-1903). Styles, who was born a slave under the British flag in Jamaica subsequently spent the rest of her life from the age of 17 living at several addresses in north London, working for the same family as a domestic servant until her death.
Inspired by Afrofuturism, the piece will travel forward 150 years to the year 2169 by reimagining Styles’ life as an existence of strength, empowerment and liberation, rather than what we suspect was likely to have contained elements of grief, isolation and entrapment. Working with a small team of Mixed Reality experience specialists from PlayLabZ, and Holotronica the piece is captured and recorded as a holographic image.
Circle of Blackness is conceived in two parts. Part one opened in May 2019 with a short introduction to Styles. Part two will time-travel between 1869, when Finsbury Park opened, the present and 2169.
Time Portals exhibition film excerpt: Furtherfield 2019
Click here to watch the full exhibition film