Transcript of Jetsam

“Well, erm... We were flying over central Scotland, and we got buzzed by a couple of airforce jets and we had to make a crash landing. Erm... We came down, er, just east of Stirling... no j’- no, just west of Stirling. We had to abandon the ship because we thought it was going to blow, for a while, and we hid id, we’ve got it under a cloaking device now and well... we made our way to, well I came to Glasgow. There was five of us on board. We’ve all got various jobs & things now. Well actually, no, one of us is on the dole. Erm... I decided erm to be an artist because I’d always been good at drawing, and... er... I got a, I got a job one day a week at the art school and that’s good because erm I get to meet a lot of people from all over, it’s quite cosmopolitan. Erm, it’s interesting er, we had to erm... Fortunately, we go polymorphous and we can change our shape to whatever we want to. We thought it best to go human because there seemed to be more of them, and er they’re least likely to notice us. Erm... I - I decided to be English because I wasn’t very good at the Scottish accent. Erm,... ‘Looking forward to getting back home. Erm... Two of the crew are now working at a vehicle repair shop and er they’re picking up bits and pieces with which we eventually hope to get the ship back and running again, er, maybe by the end of the year. I’ll miss it here, yeah, I shall miss it er... Er, ‘had quite a bit of success with the art lately and er it’s nothing that would really go down well back on my planet, so er, I’ll have to abandon all that and I’m quite enjoying it. But of course, I miss home and it’s - it’s quite a good job I’ve got anyway, like, flying flying-saucers er... perph! That’s about it really..............................Okay?”

Background information to Jetsam (Text prepared for Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow)

I first became interested in the possibilities of working with video when I visited the exhibition  "Bruce Nauman: Use Me [Graphics, Multiples, Videos and Installations]"; City Museum, Stoke on Trent, England, 7 March-21 April, 1991. Through the work of Nauman, William Wegman, Vito Acconci and others I realised the strengths of performing to video as a medium. I recognised its immediacy and economy of form just at the time when it had reached a level of accessibility within my own modest means. A practice of performing directly to video camera seemed to lend itself to ideas I was working with, around the subjects of identity, belief and representation of the real.

Jetsam was made during a short residency, offered by the Arts and Cultural Development Office: South East Area, at The Fringe Gallery, situated in The Braes shopping centre, Castlemilk, Glasgow. I had just graduated from the Masters of Fine Art programme at Glasgow School of Art and was grateful for this opportunity, which provided me with a period of time in a studio followed by an exhibition in the gallery. My studio was right above the main public concourse of the shopping centre, so there was always a lot of noise spilling in from below. Trying to record an intimate monologue in this situation was quite challenging. My solution was to put some loud music on in the background to drown out the noise of the shoppers. I liked the way this resulted in locating the character being portrayed as recording a message to video in a casual, unprepared way, despite the fact that it was very deliberate. I feel that this is one of the factors that helps the piece take on the appearance of an evidential document, despite its obvious fabrication.

Alan Currall, July 2012

Jetsam, 1995

3 minutes 46 seconds, SVHS

Monologue performed to video camera. Shown as single channel video on CRT monitor with speakers, on a plinth.

First shown in the solo exhibition, Now That I Am In Heaven... Fringe Gallery, Glasgow, 1996. Subsequently shown in numerous other exhibitions.

This work exists as an edition of 5 (+AP) and is represented in the public collections of the Arts Council of England and the City of Glasgow.