Deception Bent to Mild Acceptance in a General Spirit of Optimism About Things That Are consists of a series of digital slides, projected on a wall, a video on a monitor on the floor, and two small neon-lights, mounted on the other wall.
The slides show two adjacent tenniscourts under a tropical blue sky. On one side, the lines and net are freshly renovated, while on the other, they are dilapidated: a lumping net with a crumpled concrete floor and washed-away paint.
The silent video shows a cafe and nightclub, somewhere in a small town in Niger.
There is an empty swimming pool, disco lights hang on a ceiling in a run-down ballroom
and there is a man, who looks into the camera. His face is brimming with expectation at first–but, as the shot lingers, his expression changes and eventually he averts his gaze with modesty and slight unease.
This work marks the beginning of my interest in the transformative power of a white-cube situation over the way certain imagery is read and understood.
The images used possess a nostalgic quality, rooted partly in a tradition of representation of the Global South as a place of poverty and decay. The tennis courts breathe a faint colonial connotation and in combination with the dysfunctional nightclub and deserted bar, evoke the periphery as a place of waiting, re-action and loss.
The clean, modernist set-up, emphasised by the two neon-lights, that echo the main colours in the digital slides with their green and pink glow–contradicts that narrative, and instead frames the images as autonomous, pushing to the fore their aesthetic quality over their function as illustrations of the 'known' reality of otherness.