Willie Doherty (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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ENDLESS, is a film produced as part of Willie Doherty’s ongoing research into the relation between trauma and memory in post-conflict Northern Ireland. This enquiry reflects on the insidious nature of mistrust and deception in a divided community and references the recruitment of paid British agents and informers during the conflict. Doherty’s film locates these concerns against the contemporary backdrop of post-truth politics, where protocols of truth and accountability have been undermined by the normalisation of ‘alternative facts’ and the corruption of democracy, as politicians lie with impunity and without consequence. In drawing out these connections the research creates significant new perspectives and enhances understanding of the extent to which trauma, caused by unsolved, historical crimes, endures and of how discourse about the memorialisation and recounting of events from the past remains politically sensitive and contested. The distinctive contribution of Doherty’s research to artists’ use of the moving image is to situate the research in relation to conventional forms of narrative and characterisation, while allowing multiple, non-linear readings and ambiguities that mirror seemingly intractable political issues. Doherty’s rigorous production and use of monochrome, shot in 4:3 aspect ratio, and the confessional nature of the script, delivered both as voiceover and spoken directly to camera by the actor, Christopher Eccleston references documentary tropes. Doherty undercuts this reading and upends narrative expectations, as it is revealed that the protagonist speaks as a spectre, from beyond the grave, unreliable, filled with shame and self-loathing. ENDLESS builds upon and expands an existing body of work by embracing historical and contemporary contexts in a way that demonstrates a coherent, methodological approach. The research advances the way in which short-form artists’ film can successfully develop new forms of expression that integrate formal concerns and socio-political content in a resolved and rigorous manner.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDublin, New York, Zürich
PublisherKerlin Gallery, Alexander and Bonin, Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Media of outputFilm
Size4K video, black &vwhite Stereo Duration 13:00 minutes
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 May 2020


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