South London Gallery, 65 Peckham Road, London, UK

  • 1.OF nostalgia card 300
    Title : 1.OF nostalgia card 300
  • 2.OF nostalgia 3 300
    Title : 2.OF nostalgia 3 300
  • 3.OF nostalgia 2 300
    Title : 3.OF nostalgia 2 300
  • 4.OF nostalgia office 300
    Title : 4.OF nostalgia office 300

Review by Jim Whittock

Nostalgia is a three-part video installation which builds on Fast’s work from the last decade. It is a palimpsest of voiceover, documentary and cinema that defies conventional narrative, weaving together threads from past, present and future.

The work was inspired by a conversation between Fast and a West African refugee seeking asylum in the UK. The first and second videos flesh out the details of the man’s story, though the filmic qualities of the interview (in which both men are played by actors) quickly blur the lines between fact and fiction. The third film offers a dystopian view of an England torn apart by civil war, and an African colony increasingly hostile to Britons seeking a better life. In one scene an asylum-seeker from Surrey is questioned about the whereabouts of a tunnel used to smuggle people into the colony. This unusual drama gives the work a pathos that the first videos lack, but its significant purpose is to put paid to the development of cogent narrative. There are strands consistent in both stories, yet the two are conceived in starkly alternate realities. Which is the type, and which the antitype’

Fast is picking apart the fabric of the asylum seeker’s story and the process by which it is told, exposing key events in his experience of displacement and the details that are lost in the process. Asylum seekers often fall back on the content and delivery of their stories to secure their safety without evidence or witnesses to support them, and in Nostalgia the difficulty of conveying ‘the truth’ is plainly brought to the fore. Whilst unravelling the reality of the man’s history, the audience is forced to confront their prejudices about immigration and the veiled identities of those who seek refuge in foreign lands.

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