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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
What is a Shadow Curator? What is a Shadow Curator?

Paul Carter

Messiah 1/Chapel Barbarossa

2000

I can't believe the words of my prophets any more.
Maxims which I once held to be true now seem as irrelevant as those biblical quotes written in the skies on faded photographs. Maybe, if the prophets are ever relevant again mine will be among them and their words will be written in the sky.
Paul Carter
Who are our prophets nowadays and what does it mean to wait?

Paul Carter was an artist who taught at Edinburgh College of Art. His residency with Deveron Projects was during the summer in 2000.

What constitutes waiting, and what do we wait for? It is an (in)action performed daily on a personal, local and universal scale - but what is it's meaning? It is connected to the past, present and future, and implies a period of dormancy, staying in one place. What is meditated upon during this period? Is there a sense of hope? Fear? Uncertainty? Or is there some greater personal investment in waiting, something spiritual and existential? And, what changes happen to us and our surroundings while we wait - do we enter into a motor-survival instinct, removed from the luxe, calme et volupté of everyday life by the set of blinkers imposed by waiting for a specific thing? This suggests that while waiting may be physically inactive, it is mentally turbulent... 

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In a roadside war-time 'pill-box' near Gartly (around 5 miles from Huntly), Paul created Chapel Barbarossa, an installation which played upon the original intention of the structure with the possibility of its use as a place for soliciting extra-terrestrial communication. Stained-glass windows were installed, while the 5 notes of the music which engaged the alien presence in the film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' was played. As well as explicit references to a church, this installation referred to Frederick I Barbarossa, a German Holy Roman Emperor. He too is prey to messianic legend - that he is asleep and will one day awake to restore Germany to its ancient greatness.

A further installation, Messiah 1, acted as a space-station whose purpose was the retrieval of the Messiah, and was installed in the Brander garden. It was constructed from Dexion shelving and a one-person tent, continuing his investigation of low-tech materials in the pursuit of higher ideas.

Paul's works tend to acknowledge a presence beyond our own - whether it is something spiritual or extra-terrestrial or something yet to occur. While western society has in many ways moved away from its religious beliefs and into a more secular period, the traditions and operations are largely the same. Instead of a second coming of Christ, many of us are carried away by our own human progress and await The Future and an accelerated advancement. This is evident in the multitude of science-fiction novels and films, particularly ones that relate to a biblical narrative and present to us people from the future, or a race of advanced beings from outer space as messianic characters. One need simply compare religion's call to have faith, with the science-fiction enthusiast's call to believe. Both instances are fraught with mental unrest and frustration with the present, and suggest that one is waiting for an answer.

     

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