Goldsmiths Curatorial Critique

Sara Haq – The Overland Project

Posted in Reviews by mingjiuntsai on February 8, 2009

090206-sarahaq1How do you record a journey? Will you take photos, videos or write it down? These are often the methods that people record their travel. They are also the medias that Sara Haq chooses to record The Overland Project, which is showed at the Alexia Goethe Gallery. However, you might see a different impression of a journey here.

Several huge photographs of landscapes occupy the ground floor gallery. The images are in a line as if the windows of a train, where viewers are passengers looking out over the window. ‘Where am I looking at?’ You might start to wonder. You pass by the woods covered by snow and the landscape in a heavy fog. The view of trees’ shadows that are created by the speed of the train and these wires and poles, seems the only traces that convince you are looking at somewhere rather than nowhere. A soundless video under the stairway shows the viewer the running image of this journey, but you don’t know that your expedition is just about to begin.

Following the sound of an unidentifiable conversation to the first floor gallery, photographs, drawings and handwritings are full of the wall. A small black television in the corner shows some people’s talking on a train. You start the cruise. People on that train look like sharing their stories to the camera, and most of them are Asian. Those various sizes of photographs on the wall become not just photographs that document the journey because the drawing and writings on the wall connect and translate those images into an expression. These photographs, drawings and writings on the wall appear to be the elements that transmit the temperature, aroma, ambience and the frame of mind during this journey. While viewers looking at and going along these tracks, they may be amazed by an extraordinary scene, or laugh at a peculiar meal as though they are enjoying the travel with Sara. Via those images and words, you slowly realize that you are in a crossing from UK, Russia, Mongolia, China and Thailand.

How do you used to travel? Have you ever tried to enjoy the pleasure of a journey itself rather than doing a designated spot-ticking list? How does it feel to travel by a car, bus and train to cross half of the earth? In The Overland Project, Haq practiced a slow travel to explore the possibility of hearing and knowing other people and experience a journey. Through these medias, which we are all familiar to record a trip, this time, you can experience more then seeing snapshots, but walking into it.

Sara Haq – The Overland Project
The Alexia Goethe Gallery
16 January – 20 February 2009

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