Ruth Beale and Karen Mirza, Vogage Of Nonsuch, presentation, 2008. Image: Simon Steven.

Ruth Beale & Karen Mirza

The Voyage of Nonsuch, 2008-10

This was the final part of a trilogy of works by Ruth Beale and Karen Mirza made in collaboration across two Biennales (2008/2010). A single channel video installation, The Voyage of Nonsuch analyses how film and film archives influence our view of cultural history, social space and everyday life. Constructed as a film essay with a script composed almost entirely of citations, it observes and participates in the social and political spaces of the archive. Shot on 16mm film and colour digital HD (mostly behind the scenes of the British Film Institute Archive), the images and voiceover frame a poetic voyage through unfamiliar scenes of the interior and exterior landscape of the archive as a space, site and meta-structure.

Two events accompanied The Voyage of Nonsuch project. Karen Mirza and Ruth Beale hosted a programme of vintage films with local historian and collector Tony Blake, and ran an open seminar to explore the role of the archive in contemporary artist practice.