Friday, August 03, 2007

Somewhere between LA and London

Adrià Julia is a Spanish artist, born in Barcelona and now relocated to Los Angeles he brings his view of the U.S to Hoxton Street in the Associates Gallery.
The two films at Associates create an overall feeling of incongruity, somewhere in the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles a housewife, Taylor, talks us through the contents of her home, we are given a tour of the rooms of the house which contain the shelves on which a massive collection of family photo albums are held and the other in which her husband's sports trophies and memorabilia are kept, we see a woman proud of her family and her home.

The incongruity in these films comes from the siting, in the small confines of Associates with the edgy and grubby surrounds of Hoxton outside the spacious and ordered interior of Taylor’s home seems a world away. Taylor’s voice is overdubbed with that of a local Hoxton woman so the accent and rhythms of speech are that of London, the world we see on screen are most definitely not. From a shared language it is clear that there is a massive gulf, somewhere between the east end of London and the suburbs of Los Angeles is not only a geographical space but a cultural space, talk of U.S sporting heroes falls on deaf ears, the interior style of Taylor’s home seems alien and the sentimentality and honesty of her descriptions of her life and home are embarrassing when spoken with an accent I always equate with a people who are much more guarded in their approach to describing their lives. There is a uniqueness to the voiceover, a traditional London accent is dying, the dialect and rhythms spoken are being replaced with a much more generic style, pattern and culture. Peppered with cultural references from Taylor’s life it is unusual, for a native Londoner it is a highly melancholic experience, it reflects how many feel about contemporary London, developing, growing but inevitably leaving certain nuanced aspects of traditional London life behind. This is the unique element of Julia’s film, everywhere the film is shown he dubs the film into local dialect, in a previous showing this was dubbed into Catalan. Wherever Taylor may recount her story, in whichever part of the world it will always be unique, this translation of language, dialect, accent, speech will highlight those nuances of cultural locality. Taylor’s home surroundings, her mannerisms and narrative will remain constant but in each location little pieces of the host city or town will creep in and show us the tiny details of locality through the voice that speaks Taylor’s words.

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