Akeroyd Collection


Joan Jonas, Future Lot: Reading Dante, 2008

Multiple strands of footage comprise this video work and they are edited in sequence to evoke a sense of progression through the spoken text. Excerpts of Dante’s books are recited but Joan Jonas sees this work as part of a continuum of understanding one’s own time. From Dante, in the Medieval era to Aby Warburg in the early 20th Century, each tried to make sense of a moment of extraordinary change in society. Recognising we are perhaps at that moment again, where society is encountering paradigmatic shifts in how we understand our place on the planet, with each other and in increasingly technological times, Jonas revisits these texts and thinks through them in the present day. We see miniature houses in a wooded area, which then become the backdrop for Jonas to perform for camera in a variety of character costumes. We then see them reappear after what looks like footage of a furnace. This time children, in negative film stock, arrange the houses inside what looks like a museum, to render different versions of a scale model town. This appears to be a workshop of some kind in full swing until we cut to a toy museum. Here dolls, models and various tableaux are animated and lively. The translation of the texts over the top of this imagery helps us relate the themes to broader contemporary issues. A sense pervades in these juxtapositions that one can build and reimagine the world over and over in times of uncertainty.

MediumSingle-channel SD video
Duration6 minutes 25 seconds
Editionof 5 + 2 APs