Tom Richardson, Reconstruction 1865, Single channel video projection and custom projection apparatus, 3 min. 45 sec., Black and white, stereo sound with intertitles., 4K animation (downscaled for projection)., Black curtain, custom screen, structure and lens, 2017
For the past year, Tom Richardson, a British artist living in Vancouver, Canada has been experimenting with the Unreal Engine. The results are utterly fascinating. Alongside Rehearsal for a Synthetic Theatre, Richardson produced Reconstruction 1865, a shorter video work referencing Abraham Lincoln's diary entry that premediated (borrowing Richard Grusin's term) his assassination, as well as D.W. Griffith's 1915 racist blockbuster, Birth of a Nation. Richardson specifically made Reconstruction, 1865 for an exhibition that opened at the time of Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017. It is, therefore, a timely work: a piece about the death of an American president coincided with the death of the American Presidency altogether. It's remarkable that Richardson is manipulating the Unreal Engine to meditate on that cruel game otherwise known as History, while emphasizing the various meanings of the verb to shoot. After watching Reconstruction, 1865 I could not but ask myself if this piece is meant as a new premonition.
Tom Richardson, Reconstruction 1865, installation view
Tom Richardson (b. 1990, Hastings UK) is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Vancouver, he holds a BFA from Emily Carr University where he received the 2015 President’s Media Award for best installation. Richardson’s cinematically infused works seek to reframe historical events for a contemporary context through drawing lines of research both from historical accounts and narrative fictions. Centred around animation, Richardson’s practice expands to include sculpture, installation and 2D works. Richardson is a founding member of Duplex, a DIY art space that hosts a gallery and studios on Fraser Street in Vancouver.
LINK: Tom Richardson