photo: Gerry Johansson, courtesy: White Cube

Scale (1/16 inch= 1 foot)

ArtistRuna ISLAM
Material/ Technique2 DVDs, 2 screens
Size/ Duration16 min. 51 sec.
Copyright Notice© Runa ISLAM
Year of acquisition/ donation2005
DescriptionBorn in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1970. Lives and works in London, UK.

After a period in the mid-1990s of presenting her very early art and film works within the independent art scene in London, Runa Islam went on to attend a residency program during the course of 1997/8 at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. In 2004 she completed a two year Master of Philosophy research degree at the Royal College of Art, London. Islam has always concerned herself with critical modes of representation and their transformative effect upon the conception, perception and reception of ideas, subjects and forms. Some of her early film and video installations referenced experimental, avant-garde and expanded cinematic techniques as way to develop her own methodology. By analysing and verifying images, styles, techniques, Islam has often constructed a unique perspective while throwing into confusion the relationship between ‘seeing’ and ‘being seen’ and the reading of narratives.

"Scale (1/16 inch = 1 foot)", 2003, a two-screen video installation features a multilevel car park in Gateshead in northeast England that appears in a scene from the film "Get Carter" (1971, UK). Staged and filmed within a set of the imagined, but never built restaurant that was initially planned for the top floor of the building, two young waiters and two elderly male customers interact, while a car resembling the one that appears in the film is shown sitting in the deserted car park. A charged atmosphere in which orders are never quite taken continues for some time until a 180 degree pan of the camera deliberately reveals the derelict building behind the camera. Consequent to this disjunctive moment, the actors exchange roles and images of the actual location and the set, and of the building and a model, begin to mingle with each other. While the work uses the lexicon of suspense films in the form of the looks and gestures of the actors, the camerawork, the switching between scenes, the lighting, the music, and so on, the switching back and forth between reality and illusion is depicted with a lyrical touch. Moreover, because the screens are positioned one in front of the other, the audience becomes lost in the entangled world depicted in the work without being able to fully grasp it.