Jill Scott

Beyond Hierarchy

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CLIENT: Zeche Zollern II/IV
2000

Jill Scott’s large spatial installation consists of two interactive sections. The artist uses the representative architecture of the Zollern ll/lV mine’s “Steigerhalle” hall as a projection surface for seven video projections.

In the first section, visitors are assigned the role of observers, out of which they are given the opportunity to enter in a sort of dialogue with six different persons—three men and three women—representing the industrial workers of the Ruhr area from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. The six characters are fictional personalities modelled by Jill Scott to the results of intense archive studies, oral tradition and interviews.

The individuals work in different industrial branches; yet, they have in common a reflected view on their work and living situation. With the help of six electronic interfaces—custom-made computer-controlled chairs—, visitors can explore the history of each of the six persons. The control system allows the selection and order of subjects that the characters talk about. By following the whole of the six life stories, visitors become witnesses of the changing work situations; however, this is not achieved by merely imparting facts and figures, but by intimate insights in the worker’s lives. The video images are projected onto the insides of the big blinded arched windows of the “Steigerhalle” hall, merging the workers’ life stories of the workers into the architecture of the mine.

The second section of BEYOND HIERARCHY consists of a video projection on the window opposite the entrance of the “Steigerhalle” hall and an interface that needs to be operated by two simultaneously to start the projection. The two visitors are required to shake hands —a metaphor for solidarity—through both openings of the box-shaped interface. This triggers the projection of documentary (“objective”) film material showing acts of protest and solidarity of the labour movement interspersed with images of equally fictitious labourers who comment the footage from their personal point-of-view.

Jill Scott uses the electronic media as an instrument to digest history, offering the audience the subjective reports of fictitious “witnesses” to create a point-of-view allowing for an identification with the past on a very personal level. a view on history.

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