close share

Itinerant Texts

Itinerant Texts features a selection of works exploring cultural histories of communities and individuals fragmented and disconnected; the journeys and explorations for a modern-day substitution of a mythical past. The disparity of opportunity provided to peoples forced (for any number of social, familial or personal reasons) negates the ontology of myth.

In Better Life, Isaac Julien links China's mythological past to its material (and conversely idealised) present. Julien gives us Gods, leading us on paths home when the reality has become too far detached from the story compared to Eva Rudlinger's Gods who are but the memory of; who live in the ethereal firmament that proves just as tangible for those who believe. For the artists involved these paths are insecure but the act of travelling is a self-determined activism, in order to each a destination. Occasionally these destinations are deadened by a society disillusioned by an unnavigable and unfamiliar twenty-first century but the myth is still sacrosanct, and still the search for a shared cultural identity is more important than the destination itself; a yearning toward an ancient history that holds the idealised cultural norms of a peoples. For Lizzie Hughes it is the horizon. Sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes stormy, sometimes petulant but always the centre of her world, always desirous. Marcel Dinahet, too, takes us to the edge of his world, and like Antoine Doinel at the end of Le Quatre Cent Coup, the sea represents both freedom and an insurmountable barrier. We leave Dinahet's unseen protagonist forever chasing. Equally, the driver in Tunnel by Jamie Lau is chasing something, moving toward an unknown, and perhaps undecided, destination. His concern is the danger of the journey and yet he continues unabashed: eyes closed firmly shut.

The universal truth is that there isn't one, instead what we are left with is the singular emotive translations of how we perceive the journeys that we undertake in order to gain a tangible meaning for our existences. As we come to terms with an increasing internationalism, the choice that we make between perceived freedoms in the search for a figurative gold rush highlights the disparate experiences provided to individuals and groups of peoples coerced into itinerant lives. It has been said that the challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned. Theirs is a process, the physical and metaphysical process of deliberately displacing oneself.