Bettina Furnée, Counting in another language
Ruskin Gallery, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
23 April - 16 May

Counting in another language brings together recent digital and moving image work by Wysing Studio Artist Bettina Furnée, addressing themes of displacement, alternative realities and language.

Bettina Furnée Counting in another language

Her solo show at The Ruskin Gallery at Anglia Ruskin University includes three different time-lapse sequences for Here’s Luck, shot on a pocket camera during an Eastern Exchanges residency in the Caribbean. The short films document the workings of the tides and currents on an emergency shelter on a deserted tropical beach, with the same scenario filmed on different days. The films are combined with narrative texts contributed by people of the local Bahamian community (mostly of African or European lineage). These were written, read aloud and recorded in response to the films during the Instant Writing Event, held at The Hub in Nassau in July 2011. All contributed texts are published together in a print on demand pamphlet produced by AND Publishing.

Also shown is a series of four recent short digital films, which were shot at Anglia Ruskin University’s film studio as part of Furnée’s participation in the AA2A access scheme in 2014. Domestic Celestial Events shows a variety of household objects filmed against a spacey black background. The footage is combined with a soundtrack of recorded interviews with couples contemplating the possibility of going on an extended trip to the moon with their partner. 

A transcription of the spoken words appears as ‘subtitling’ in juxtaposition to the images, expanding both use and meaning of language. The interviews and texts were created in collaboration with writer Lucy Sheerman, and the voices recreated by actors.

The main screen in the gallery shows, over the duration of the exhibition, a slowly changing random display of individually selected lines taken from the interviews with these couples, reflecting inner life onto outer space. These lines form an ambient and ambiguous presence, touching on assumptions, hopes and desires we harbour for an alternative future, and the faith we invest in each other.

All films are shown on digital screens in the gallery, installed together with some of the household objects that appear in the films, such as lamps, fruit on a table, and a large potted plant.

Bettina Furnée's work ranges from small text and moving image pieces to complex and collaborative environmental projects, and has included new media since 2005. Using language as material, her work is rooted in different notions of site, underlining our accidental place and time on this earth.