VONR
Voyage of no Return (2009), five channel synchronized (4K) HD video installation, sound. Installation view Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, 2009.

A father prevaricates - cautioning his son, at first, about the dangers of travelling – but then, encouraging him, as he knows a father should, to set out and explore the world.

The inspiring and striking landscape around Oban, Scotland and its unfinished McCaig’s Tower, are the setting for this rift between a father and son, which is also a meditation on frontiers: those which separate geographies, cultures, as well as dream from reality. The son envisages the port below as having a simple secret. “It knows only departures, not returns.” His father, at the prospect of losing his son, confesses that his true fear afterall, is not of strange cultures, but of becoming a stranger to himself.

The paradox in the narrative is that it seems this philosophical argument between father and son will not end here, but will resume the next day, and the day after.  The son’s departure is likely to be postponed indefinitely.  And so, on this level, his departure knows only returns.

The script is loosely based on fragments from Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities. The initial impetus for the adaptation was the exploration of the two opposite notions of fixity and unboundness and the mapping of what could be termed as ‘soft territories’. The concept looks specifically at the idea of geographies that are demarcated and moreover politically and culturally liberated.