Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was a programme of international moving image work at the historic Stephenson Works, Newcastle upon Tyne. The site has a significant history as the home of Robert Stephenson’s workforce that helped to build the foundations of the first rail networks across the world. The empty shell of the historic ‘boiler room’, surrounded by regenerative activity, is a suitably apt site to investigate the complex human relationship with past, present and future. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is a series of exhibitions of celebrated international moving image works that imaginatively explore histories, playing with reality and fiction to create narratives, which resonate on a personal and universal level. The selected works aimed to represent visual storytelling that is strange and beguiling.
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was accompanied by a limited edition publication. Featuring new and key texts by curators Sam Watson & Adam Phillips, Steven Ball, Elizabeth Neilson, Keith Whittle and actress Keira Knightly. The publication is available from our online store.
Notes on Artworks
Stuart Pearson Wright: Maze (2010)
The film installation, Maze, casts the artist as Edmund, an Elizabethan courtier trying to reach his lover – Constance, played by the actress Keira Knightley. Split across two screens that can not be watched simultaneously, the viewer must choose which character to follow: Romantic artist or fickle muse? Earnest male or inconstant female? Visual artist or Hollywood actress?
Henry Coombes: The Bedfords (2009)
British artist Henry Coombes’ film The Bedfords tells the story of English painter Edwin Landseer’s commission to paint a family portrait of the Bedfords at their home in the Scottish Highlands. A notable figure within 19th century British art, Landseer was also known for his fragile mental state. His uneasy relationship with the natural world is a motif throughout the film as the painter’s genteel nature is attracted to the possibility that this wilderness could undo him. Through an interplay between comfortable domestic surroundings and the wild outdoors, Landseer is pulled out of his depth. An untamed force of nature seeps through and attempts to push the artist to the edge of delirium.
Lu Chunsheng: The first man who bought a juicer bought it not for drinking juice (2010)
Lu Chunsheng’s film, The first man who bought a juicer bought it not for drinking juice, mixes documentary and fantasy to theatrical effect. The characters in the film are both human and mechanical, and represent the consequences of the globalised era in their repetition of senseless acts. Orson Welles’ fictional account of an alien invasion in The War of the Worlds which was mistaken for a real news item, is the impetus for the film. It illustrates the influence of technology, mass media and the power of fear.