Voun Town, installations shot. Credit: Sally Jubb
Voun Town, publication detail. Credit: Sally Jubb
Voun Town, installation detail. Credit: Sally Jubb
Driven by research into fantasy and environmental responsibility, Voun Town considers critical ecological questions by exploring the relationships between human and non-human subjects. At the core of the project is a short story about a secret landfill settlement inhabited by non-human persons known as the Vouns. In the exhibition space, the long-short story expands to include audio, ceramics and a performative set of purpose-built furniture that viewers can engage with.
Both a consequence and an expression of resistance to market capitalism, the Vouns employ a strict division of labour and are awake only when performing their tasks, existing on the cusp of verbs and nouns. The radically different social structure of Voun Town prompts all sorts of consequences for the human narrator, a figure not unlike the naïve and quasi-heroic wanderers of early science fiction and travel literature. Just like Gulliver himself, the narrator wrestles with an unfamiliar system of values, thus serving as a plot device to explore the possibility of learning from non-human beings. Informed by a post-colonial perspective on science fiction, Voun Town considers the social consequences of collectivism, as well as the potential it creates for a more symbiotic relationship with the environment.
Voun Town was exhibited at the Fire Station as part of Platform at Edinburgh Art Festival (25th July - 25th August 2019).