The Attraction of Onlookers

In 2006, I was invited by the Welsh Arts Council and BBC to the Welsh Village Aberfan.  In 1966, a man-made avalanche buried the village’s only primary school.  An entire generation of the village’s children lost their lives. Within hours of the disaster –and ever since- the village lost its privacy as the worldwide media descended upon it.  Having become “famous” as “the village that lost its children” and forever identified with the disaster, Aberfan  -and similar places elsewhere- has had difficulty moving on.  On the disaster’s 40th anniversary, I created The Attraction of Onlookers: An Anatomy of a Welsh Village, a 5-ch immersive video Installation. To oxygenate the frozen narrative of the disaster, I took as my working method: What does it take to make a Welsh Village? Over 3 months I invited villagers into my studio and asked them to assume statuary poses reflecting their social/occupational role in the village.  I then filmed them on an unseen slowly revolving stage.


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