Some Things You Are Not Allowed to Send Around the World
11 June – 3 August 2003
For her second solo exhibition at Matt’s Gallery, Melanie Jackson has made a new installation of small-scale sculpture and video that has grown out of an ongoing interest in found stories and news media.
Collecting different media outputs: newsprint, video footage and other printed matter, the artist then uses the fragments as raw material to construct her own films, pamphlets, maps, landscapes and architectures. She has collected together as many foreign edition newspapers available on the domestic market as possible as a means of registering how far she could ‘go’ or travel in the imagination without leaving the city. Some works are made in response to a news story or image, and others are from memory or from a fantasised journey through impenetrable texts. She constructs minutely detailed architectural models out of the newsprint: cranes, water towers, satellite receivers, refugee and holiday camps, world fairs and container ports. This laborious process of construction is contrary to the news media’s obsession with circulation and speed.
Melanie Jackson follows tales of peoples who have transformed the cultural or political landscape in different ways through very low key, domestic responses to international concerns. One of the video works in the exhibition, A Westerly Wind and a Clear Night Sky, tracks an illicit journey by boat between Africa and the foothills of the Sierra Alhamilla in Spain. The Spanish terrain is now covered in an estimated 64,000 hectares of greenhouses made of sheet plastic, designed for the mass production and export of produce. Ironically, this thriving industry that exports fruit and vegetables around the world, relies on the illegal settlement of a migrant labour force.
The unrestricted movement for individuals, goods and ideas on the one hand, and highly restricted movements on the other, is a concern that is reflected in the title of the exhibition itself. Some Things You Are Not Allowed To Send Around The World is a poster made up of the recent ‘prohibition and restriction’ guidelines issued by international post offices. The assembled list reveals some of the superstitions and regional eccentricities associated with the exchange of goods. This poster will be available as one of a series of free publications produced for the exhibition.