Paul Rooney - Lost High Street

The Collective Gallery are delighted to present a solo show by Paul Rooney, comprising of two video pieces that deal with the unreality of city experience: Lost High Street (2008) and Monster (2004).

Lost High Street is a new Collective Gallery commission. Filmed in Edinburgh at the beginning of May 2008 on board an open top bus doing a tour of Edinburgh City Centre Lost High Street takes the form of a VHS tourist video, circa 1987. The viewer sees the trip from the tourist's perspective. The tourist, voiced by the artist, Paul Rooney, is unsure of his own past life, mixing what he thinks are his own memories with misheard fragments of the tour guide's spiel. The narrative eventually takes a bleak turn as it is revealed that the tourist could be stuck forever on a tour that never stops, an endless series of circuits around a city that may not be Edinburgh at all, but the capital of a disturbing foreign empire in the grip of cold-war paranoia. The tourist fears he may be dead, killed by the empire’s security forces because of an act of espionage he has unwittingly committed. This means, he thinks (though he is never sure of any of this), that he is now condemned to repeat his final act, the filming of a bus-top tourist video, in a blossom filled, sun-drenched city. Forever.

In the second of the two video works, Monster, a single male voice poetically describes the experience of walking the streets of a city, over images of blurred reflections of people moving around the streets of Melbourne, Australia. This voice could be that of the re-animated ghost of “Ern Malley”, a modernist poet who was invented by two soldiers in Melbourne in the mid-1940s as a literary hoax.
Paul Rooney - Lost High Street

Event Title: Paul Rooney - Lost High Street
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