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Legacy – Roderick Buchanan


Scottish National Portrait Gallery until September 16th 2012

For a work that brings together the two sides of the same coin that are 
Irish Republicanism and Northern Irish Loyalism, the black wall that 
divides the two screens of Roderick Buchanan's feature-length film 
installation without comment is a silently knowing piece of symbolism. 
Commissioned in association with the Imperial War Museum, Buchanan's 
piece charts two Glasgow flute bands' participation in two 
ideologically opposed marches. While the Black Skull Corps of Fife and 
Drum travel to Londonderry to celebrate the 320th anniversary of the 
lifting of the lifting of the siege of the city, the Parkhead 
Republican Flute Band commemorate the Easter Rising in Derry during 
2010.

With no narration, and with the sound wilfully flitting between each 
film a la censored UK news bulletins of the 1980s, at first glance here 
are a pair of community away-day rituals. With the screenings flanked 
on all sides by photographic portraits of the members of each band that 
lends them the air of football cards, Buchanan neither judges nor asks 
questions, but opts instead for a form of anthropological reportage. 
Only when you read the statements from each band on the wall does the 
events' full historical context become clear.

Watching the films in tandem, as both bands make their way through 
run-down housing schemes, it's easy to recognise in such mutual shows 
of strength a common ground that speaks volumes about class and social 
conditions. Strip away the uniforms, the film suggests, and both bands 
would be marching to a different, but eminently like-minded drum.

The List, July 2012

ends

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