In the ‘happening’ on 24th April 2018, ‘If I Hear a Loud Bang, I’ll count to 10 slowly then walk towards it’, Jules Bishop used the mediums of video and performance to commemorate the 25th year anniversary of the Bishopsgate bombing. The work addressed difficult discourses of trauma and terror informed by personal experience; the artist having been in the bombing. The title of the work pays tribute to Ed Henty who sadly died in the blast.
The piece addressed the blast through a prism of liminality. In defining the ‘inframince’ (the ultrathin), one of the examples Marcel Duchamp uses is that moment between the sound of a gun being fired and seeing the mark of the bullet appear on a target. To Bishop, this defines the same ‘ultrathin’ moment of a vacuum before a bomb goes off. The two-minute visceral performance took place at the exact site where Bishop and her friend were when the bomb went off, precisely 25 years later to the minute. The performance used an interdisciplinary approach and addressed the embodiment of trauma located in different sites of the body. In the video work, she used cross dissolve to visually allude to this quasi-invisible liminal moment.
Screened on a mobile digital Advan travelling around the City and to other sites of IRA London bombs, the video embodied the physicality of trauma through sculptural, performance-inspired editing and composition. Filmed on location in the City of London, Bishop shot footage of anonymous Deleuzian “dividuals” and she put forward a socio-political commentary on the compromise to civil liberties following the dramatic increase in surveillance in the wake of the Bishopsgate bombing. “Dividuals” as data packages have particular resonance in the here and now.
Inspired by the pixellated works of Thomas Hirschhorn and Thomas Ruff, Bishop combined the moving image with appropriated pixellated news report footage which finished with an alternative, mesmeric account of the bombing. This afforded reflection and was accompanied by audio silence. A contemporary version of the living newspaper, the video screened until approximately 5pm which is a time-specific tribute for when Ed Henty’s body was discovered. Updates during the course of the day were tweeted on @artjules2018.
Jules Bishop is a Fine Art degree student at the University of Northampton.