Now in its third edition, the Jerwood/ FVU Awards will premiere two moving-image installations created by artists Karen Kramer and Alice May Williams after having each received the award of £20,000 in May 2015, as shortlisted from 250 entries.
The artists had each submitted proposals to the 2016 curatorial theme, which called for entries discussing our contemporary ecological and economic uncertainty, focusing upon power stations – Karen Kramer via an extraordinary use of sound and text, Alice May Williams with a playful exploration of online imagery. Over 10 months, each artist worked closely with FVU, resulting in two powerful filmic pieces: The Eye That Articulates Belongs on Land by Karen Kramer, and Dream City – More, Better, Sooner by Alice May Williams.
Kramer’s piece, shot in Shiretoko National Park, in northern Japan, looks into the changes in landscape and ecology since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor was disabled in 2011, after suffering earthquake damage. The area is now off-limits to people and remains as a desolate symbol of mankind’s capacity to wreck and ruin, a scientific test-case for retrospective nucleur damage limitation, and an example of nature’s own miraculous ability to repair and re-establish itself.
This latter point however, is not Kramer’s central focus, instead her film displays dramatic contrasts between the pristine environment of Shiretoko national park and the wild of Fukushima, alluding to Japanese culture and mythology as well as fears of airborne contagion, looking at the local knowledge which sways attitudes toward the landscape.
Meanwhile, Williams’ piece considers the changing face of Battersea Power Station in South London: once a smoking giant providing energy to the masses and now a commercial site, soon to provide places for the elite to live, work, eat, shop and stay. Archive footage of the building in the 1940s industrial era is spliced with CGI projections of its future state, while a voiceover uses mindfulness strategies to encourage the viewer to focus on the present while also undermining the fetishisation of the ‘here and now.’
Jerwood/FVU Awards 2016: Borrowed Time, 9 March to 24 April at Jerwood Space, 171 Union St, London SE1 0LN and 28 May to 10 July at CCA, Glasgow. For more information, visit www.jerwoodfvuawards.com