Woking, The Lightbox, Suki Chan: Still Point, 1 October – 30 November 2012
Still Point is a film installation that engages with sacred spaces and places of pilgrimage. “Whilst filming in sacred sites in Jerusalem, I was struck by how some parts of the city have two names, one in Hebrew and the other in Arabic. How one population can ‘unsee’ another group. How one part of the city is closed off to another group – by borders which are sometimes physical and sometimes psychological.” Still Point transports the audience from the site of the humble wooden structures offering refuge along Pilgrims’ Way in Northumberland, to contested sacred sites in Jerusalem, and the interior spaces of abandoned Syrian villages in the Golan Heights. The film evokes the tension that marks them as places of refuge and spiritual quest – and as materially contested sites. The shifting of allegiances – changing cultural and religious identities, the resulting layering over time, the visual clues left behind – are physically embodied in the locations Chan chose to film. Barriers and divisions are a recurring motif in Still Point, suggesting the contradictory tenets of organised religion – inclusivity and its often-inevitable corollary – exclusivity. In making Still Point, Suki Chan encountered segregation, the militarisation of sacred spaces and the conflation of utopia with dystopia.