Project Overview

A London of fast-blinking lights and speeding commuters, where cars and trains leave luminous comet-trails marking their passage through the night, and where individuals reflect on freedom in the urban metropolis, or seek escape from the repetitive habits and conditions it enforces. Inspired by ideas of freedom of expression in contemporary society, Suki Chan’s video installation is an impressionistic study of London’s diverse population. Chan contrasts the movements of people on their way to and from work with their individual efforts to enjoy free time – exploring how we create our own personal and psychological space outside the architectural restrictions and behavioural patterns imposed by life in the city.

Chan’s work weaves together a series of evocative video portraits highlighting people’s different responses to the hubbub of London life. Groups of skaters, unimpeded by traffic, move freely through the twilight city, tracing their own intuitive map of the metropolis. Nigerian security guards gatekeeping a deserted high-rise office block compare the ‘freedom’ of London with the rhythms and aspirations of their former life, while city commuters embody the mundane, monotonous regularity of our everyday urban existence. First shown, to great atmospheric effect, in an outdoor, rooftop setting at A Foundation in London, Sleep Walk, Sleep Talk was subsequently presented in a more conventional twin-screen configuration.

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