Gillian Wearing, Broad Street, 2001
Gillian Wearing, Broad Street, 2001


entry: General Conditions

Broad Street

Gillian Wearing

Curatorship: Pedro Lapa
Broad Street is the name of one of the roads in the centre of Birmingham, an English city that over the last ten years has undergone a period of economic boom with the setting up of new centres of activity.
Parallel roads are full of bars and discotheques making it a spot for nightlife in sufficient quantity to set up an entertainment industry. The coming and going of hundreds of young people wandering from bars to discotheques until all this panoply of amusement and consumption closes down, very quickly changed local habits.
Over the course of three weekends, Gillian Wearing filmed the streets and the interiors of the discotheques on Broad Street, in a more or less covert fashion. The almost always fixed camera zoom, bringing closer or maintaining a distance that leaves space for the observer of these multiple, all-night long events. The mixing and editing of these recordings, shown in six video films projected on the four walls of a room, surround the observer making it completely impossible to understand the excess of simultaneous situations, accompanied, as they are, by strident noise and music. The varying dimensions of the projections on the walls create a proliferation of images that in the time taken to present them set up interlinked relationships. This occurs not only from the observers' points of interest and the consequent direction of their attention, but also because of the apparent sequence of activities or recognition of the same scenario in various projections. Thus, assuming relevance to the spatial relationship between the different projections that create links among themselves and what the observer understands through a montage of the montages of each projection.The sound of each register co-exists with the others; though the sound is con­tinually focussed on specific situations through an increase in volume.The fluctuation of sound in the various visual registers organises a sequence in the course of the temporal development of the piece. During this period attention is also drawn to the plurality of stimuli that tend to disassociate the sound from the vision, as attention is progressively drawn away from the direct relationship of both recordings: sound and visual. This creates a certain instability due to the partiality of the observer's percep­tion, for he or she is constantly aware that something more is about to happen, although unable to access it physically. The multiplicity of recordings is discovered like a constellation that escapes any centrality of a point of view, to produce a com­posite image created by the installation itself.

Pedro Lapa
Director of the Chiado Museum