‘Unearthing the Banker’s Bones’ is a work that mobilises tropes from science fiction as a means of examining contemporary anxieties surrounding environmental change, migration and globalisation.
The act of presenting a speculative view of the future as a means of deconstructing the present has long been a staple of science fiction. ‘Unearthing the Bankers Bones’ references the dystopian speculations of Octavia Butler and Mary Shelly as key examples of the literary projection of contemporary anxieties into an imagined future.
The project is comprised of an installation of three large-scale synchronised video projections alongside sculptural objects displayed in exhibition vitrines.
Each projection is composed of an evolving collage of filmed, drawn, painterly and animated elements through which we are taken to a series of reference points within classic science fiction texts. This journey is revealed through the literary reflections of an anonymous narrator who describes the emergence of an illusive hooded ‘trickster’ figure, eventually given the name ‘Surmanakin’ in reference to the work of the ‘Islamo-futurist’ poet Jalaluddin Nuriddin. Depicted as a shape-shifting Android, this ‘trickster’ figure acts as a time travelling cypher weaving a pathway through the contemporary social and political landscape. In the course of this journey this ‘trickster’ encounters another illusive allegorical figure know only as ‘The Banker’ It is from this character that the work takes its title.