To mark the bicentenary of Charles Dickens in 2012, Our Mutual Friends (curated by Film and Video Umbrella) has unveiled four newly commissioned works that interpret Dickens’s final complete novel as an allegorical tale with numerous echoes in the present.
Drawing on the novel’s key themes, the project reflects the similarities between the superficialities of salon-society in Victorian London and the self-indulgence of digital platforms today, provoking us to draw parallels between an era of industrial dirt and waste, and the disposable and careless nature in which social media is employed by contemporary culture.
The project features four cross-platform artists, two of which are centred in London. Graham Hudson’s ‘Work in Progress’ is a photographic documentation (all uploaded to his Facebook page) of the ‘installations’ made by public road-works, where each disruption and delay is taken as a moment to pause for thought and an opportunity to photograph what surrounds it, echoing Dickens’s meticulous observations of overlooked aspects of London life.
Gayle Chong Kwan’s ‘The Golden Tide’ explores the fickle movements of the Thames, following the river from London Bridge to the marshes of High Kent and recording through Instagram the everyday objects that wash up on its shores. These images are then collaged together to be printed as a series of posters, which in turn will be fly-posted outside London’s Jerwood Space, left there to be weathered over time.
There are also six walks compiled by Andrew Pitcairn-Hill that are available to download from Tumblr, which highlight Dickensian landmarks in London, both areas that the author frequented and that feature in his novels. These routes have also been treaded by six writers, who have each produced a record of their walk both written and photographic, again on Tumblr.
For more information, visit the Our Mutual Friends website.