Dundee Contemporary Arts Until March 25th 2012 4 stars Jane and Louise Wilson are no strangers to going behind closed doors. In ‘Face Scripting – What Did the Building See?’, a major new film installation that forms the centrepiece of this body of surveillance-related work, they cast themselves as undercover operatives moving behind enemy lines.
As a monitor plays out a forensically assembled CCTV narrative showing the mundane comings and goings leading up to the murder in a Dubai hotel room of Hamas agent Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, the Wilsons own surreptitious after-hours footage pans through the same hotel corridors. Aided by an impressionistic voiceover, a true-life detective story is lent a poetic weight heightened by the sixteen large-scale mug-shots of the disguised sisters that form ‘false positives and false negatives’.
The seven large-scale photographic prints that make up ‘Atomgrad (Nature Abhors a Vacuum)’, bear similar witness, this time of deserted interiors within the 30km exclusion zone in place since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Black-and-white yardsticks mark out swimming pools and libraries like bar-codes, which, as with the 1993 video, ‘8.30’, a ground-level surveillance of a shell-suited interloper, suggests secret agents are everywhere, watching always.
The List, February 2012