DVD, 58 min., 2002.
Courtesy of Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. © Phil Collins
The witness, like the victim moreover, is a titular figure in the information industry and has a front-row seat at tragic events. This is how the media promote some people, by choice or by chance, to the rank of official spokespersons for unfortunate events. Phil Collins’ recording shows a real estate agent, whom the artist kept in a drunken state, describing his experiences during the tragedy of September 11. His account, garbled by alcohol, becomes unintelligible and fuzzy, like the pictures taken by a photographer in the heat of the moment.
Born in Runcorn, England, in 1970. Lives and works in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Phil Collins has gained international attention and acclaim for his frank and honest portrayal of individuals affected by the violence of war, political oppression and sectarianism. Using video installations and photography, Collins’s work explores the complexities of political upheaval and the (re)-construction of identities, on both national and individual levels. In works such as britney (2003), palestine (2003), real society (2003), baghdad screen tests (2002), becoming more like us (2002), young serbs (2001), the marches (2000), and how to make a refugee (1999), Collins presents critiques of national, cultural and personal identity that embrace the idiosyncratic complexities often ignored by mainstream media reportage. Collins’s portraits and interviews are at once beautiful, personal and contentious.
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