Changing Places is a series of exhibitions staging contemporary artists’ moving image within historically significant buildings across the country. Hastings Museum & Art Gallery is one of ten venues on the nationwide tour and hosts a large-scale video projection by Desire Machine Collective and a newly commissioned installation of objects and sound by Imran Channa.
The tour's featured artists all live in, work in, or retain a connection to Bangladesh, India or Pakistan. Through the pairing of specific sites and artworks, this series of exhibitions highlights a shared history between England and South Asia.
Read more about the artworks showing at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery below.
Projected in the Long Gallery, Desire Machine Collective's video work Residue depicts the crumbling, forgotten, monumental space of a disused power station outside the artists' hometown of Guwahati, India. In contrast to the setting at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery where, by the nature of its purpose, the building and international collection are well-preserved, the power station's structure has been abandoned and is being slowly reclaimed by the surrounding forest.
In the Durbar Hall, Imran Channa's installation Dust to Dust is an informal inventory of his visits to several buildings on the Changing Places tour. What Channa took away from his encounter with Britain's industrial past was a number of painstakingly gathered phials of dust, collected from corners, swept up from the floor - as if commenting on the transience of material things, and how even the grandest of empires dwindles to nothing in the end.
Accompanying the jars of dust, a soundtrack tells the story of the artist's tour around Britain. Channa elaborates on his journey and creates something resembling a Kipling-era adventure. He was inspired by the writings of Lady Brassey, whose collection is housed at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, and who once visited (and documented) Imran Channa's hometown in Pakistan. In a reversal of opportunities, Channa uses the language of privileged explorers from a bygone era to tell a highly embellished account of his visit to England.