An-Other examines the colonial archive against the backdrop of a neo-colonial present, while exploring possibilities of reclaiming future narratives. It draws on 85 photographs of mostly unidentified Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, and Hawaiian women between 1880 and circa 1920s to interrogate the politics of power and the colonial ideologies that continue to surround femininity, the female body and female sexuality.
The photographs are interwoven with broken pieces of mirror and accompanied by a soundscape of frantic atonal flute melodies, dissonant harmonies, unresolved cadences, harmonics, and percussive flute techniques. When a melody emerges out of sustained, overlapping tones, the viewer is prompted to assume their own agency or to attach the musical phrase to one of the photographed women. As more melodies are introduced, this process becomes increasingly complex. Colonial subjectives of ‘beauty’, ‘charm’ and ‘the exotic’ embedded in the original images are reclaimed by audio-visual elements that vocalise the operation of veiled conflicts in power, control and ‘Othering’. In challenging us to confront these aspects of our past, the work asks us to recognise the legacy of imperialism lingering in our present.
Mixed media, sound
90.5 cm x 59.5 cm / 3 minutes, 5 seconds