- Vong Phaophanit
- Collaborative Work
- Claire Oboussier
2015 Block 336, Brixton, London
2016 Triangle Space, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
IT IS AS IF is an immersive video installation by Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, supported by the Wellcome Trust and first exhibited at Block 336 Gallery, London in 2015. The artist duo are best known for their architectural and site specific works that examine themes of dislocation, memory and identity.
Throughout 2014 and 2015 Phaophanit and Oboussier worked closely with Professor Roger Kneebone (Wellcome Engagement Fellow and Professor of Surgical Education and Engagement Science at Imperial College London). The artists requested to film the surgeon as he re-enacted an operation he had carried out 30 years previously, drawing only upon a mixture of memory and imagination. The operation was captured in one single shot of 44 minutes and tracks an uncanny sequence of rigorous and tender gestures: the surgeon’s hands de-territorialised, the absent body, moments of certitude alongside moments of hesitation and lostness. Forming the centrepiece of the triptych, it is flanked by two other films, intuitive but precise responses to this unspoken terrain that has been disclosed: one, a chimerical confluence of two great rivers from different continents: the Mekong and the Thames, the other, a meandering dérive through the ruins and the reconstructions of an unnamed city. The soundscape, a weave from the hybrid threads of sound from all three films, binds them together: each image landscape is drawn in the the territory of the other, unmapped.