“After so many stories of men who had lost their memory, here is the story of one who has lost forgetting, and who - through some peculiarity of his nature - instead of drawing pride from the fact and scorning mankind of the past and its shadows, turned to it first with curiosity and then with compassion. In the world he comes from, to call forth a vision, to be moved by a portrait, to tremble at the sound of music can only be signs of a long and painful prehistory. He wants to understand. He feels these infirmities of time like an injustice, and he reacts to that injustice like Che Guevara, like the youth of the sixties, with indignation. He is a Third Worlder of time. The idea that unhappiness had existed in his planet’s past is as unbearable to him as to them the existence of poverty in their present. Naturally he’ll fail. The unhappiness he discovers is as inaccessible to him as the poverty of a poor country is unimaginable to the children of a rich one. He has chosen to give up his privileges, but he can do nothing about the privilege that has allowed him to choose.”
Sans Soleil, Argos Films (1983)
JETWASH - Revolutions
2019, Kate Pickering PhD
Rotate (Revolution 1)
The sound of an engine starting up. The camera judders ...almost every country on this planet... Boxing gloves to the right, dangling off kilter. The inside of a van. A series of clicks and a whoosh ...from Calais to Dover... A man appears at the window. Rivulets of water run horizontally down a windscreen ...I have the right passport... Clouds of white spray appear...distant traveller... A glimpse of the van driver’s ear ...he wants to understand... Knee pads. A screen at an oblique angle ...the world is not a fair place... Apple logo... an eruption breaks out in slow motion... A mechanical whir ...indignation... Soapy water fanned out ...give up all my privileges... PRIVATE VIEW CODY DOCK. Former West Art and the Contemporary After 1989. BOXERS. A picture of a bicycle. Headphones. Filming equipment. ...these men... Pillows ...do their job... Other men. Whirring ...exploiting a position of privilege... Rack of books. Whirring ...I wonder... broomhead working across the screen. Face appearing ...moved by a portrait... Soap suds gliding. Man in a cap.
Rotate (Revolution 2)
The van is taking off into space. No, it is returning to land. There is no rocket fire visible, and it is a slow motion descent, but it judders as the engine ignites and moves. A reflection of the van driver in the metallic door frame becomes apparent. Clouds of white spray, the shuttle is breaking through the atmosphere. Inside, the camera slowly pans over a select array of objects, an explorer’s life stripped to it’s essential parts, contained within a vehicle destined to travel only horizontally. This life is controlled and precise, offsetting the precarity of the immaterial labourer. It is a professional life, tipped on its side, set at odds to the norm. The ceiling is covered in silver sheeting, pinned at intervals. This space ship is retro futuristic, manned by a traveller whose only mooring is his vehicle, an immigrant adrift in a foreign city. The men washing this time capsule are immigrants too. Physical labour set to repeat on digital screen and vehicle screen (wash, rinse, wash, rinse, wash, rinse...) whilst the van driver performs his cognitive labour. A sideways plume of opaque liquid appears, spectacularly slowed, small spheres forming constellations in the air around it, constrained by the laws of gravity, has nowhere to go but down, back to where it came from.
Rotate (Revolution 3)
The van driver is set at a vantage point to the labourers. He rests, looking down upon their work. They move from shared rent to work to shared rent. The driver has a certain fluid freedom, for now, within the limitations of law and commerce, not all land is public. Even if I give up all my privileges, I can do nothing about the privilege that allows me to choose. The van driver knows his place in relation to the labourers. Yet the van driver also labours to think himself into the place of the jet washing men. This longing for parity is the beginning of a cut – the cutting of new paths across invisible demarcations.
Confront (Revolution 4)
The body of the van driver, surrounded by the body of the van, surrounded by the bodies of the labourers. The invisible scales of containment beyond: locality, city, nation, continent. The van has slipped across the lines that divide countries, over the channels that separate them. But now the van driver’s destiny is to be displaced and contained. The van driver’s movements will be circumscribed by a set of events beyond his control. A crisis, both personal and continental, will mark its lines out at all levels down to the body of the van driver himself. Deep and permanent lines. The language of law has bodily impact, the political materialises within circumscribed movements. [Two disembodied arms perform a ritual, boxing wraps are spun, hypnotically, in a circular motion, around and around the hands. A confrontation is coming.]
Kate Pickering PhD
JETWASH / 5min / 360°
Outside Projection - 5:00min
Inside the Van: Video Loop on Computer Screen
JETWASH / 5min / 360°
25.08.2019, solo show in public space, Pebbles Kiosk, Dover (UK)
Destination Dover, Pebbles Kiosk, The Port of Dover and DAD worked together made it possible to present JETWASH / 5min / 360° in public space next to Pebbles Kiosk on the 25th of August 2019 on Dover’s Sea Front. The work explores questions of privilege, migration and borders and features a van, which has been Daniel's home and studio for almost four years. The video work was projected from his van onto the Pebbles Kiosk wall.
Collaboration in Question
23.09.2017, ASC Gallery, London (UK)
A Peer Sessions Project, organised by Kate Pickering and Charlotte Warne Thomas
Adam Chodzko, Alia Pathan, Anita Delaney, Bill Leslie, Daniel Vollmond, Katharine Fry, Lindsay Seers, James Ferris & Paula Linke, Michael Dignam, Jason Jones, Rebecca Glover/Fritha Jenkins
ASC Gallery / The Chaplin Centre
Taplow House, Thurlow Street
London SE17 2DG
Peer Sessions #76
19.04.2017, Deptford X, London (UK)
Organised by Kate Pickering and Charlotte Warne Thomas
Moderated by Adam Chodzko
Daniel Vollmond and Jason Jones
140 Lewisham Way
London SE14 6PD
“In my experience, if the system is too rigid to be broken, the only viable option is to find gaps that can be exploited. For example I had to ensure that my van was affordable but still met London’s Low Emission Standards to avoid excessive fines. Generally speaking: one needs to know the rules first in order to navigate them. Yet perhaps even more important than knowing those rules is a network of allies and friends."