Installation detail of one side of the projection screen
Double projection video
Duration 40 minutes
Godville is a two-channel video constructed from interviews with eighteenth-century character interpreters in Colonial Williamsburg, a living-history museum in Virginia, USA. The museum actually occupies the historical town that it recreates, administering to the preservation of the town’s buildings and grounds, while training and paying its residents to act out Colonial American life.
The character interpreters originally interviewed for the work represent a cross-section of the town’s resident reenactors: men and women of varying social standing and origin; Democrats and Republicans, property holders and day laborers, militants and housewives, part-time revolutionaries and professional slaves. All of them sat down to be interviewed in their work areas and in their work clothes, usually eighteenth-century domestic interiors and period garments.The interviews usually begin in the past and in-character, with a question about what’s going on in the town. However, subsequent questions quickly jumped around time out of the past, into the present and back making it hard to keep track of which of the interviewee’s multiple personalities is talking at any particular moment and which particular moment in time is actually being talked about.
The video tries to clear the confusion through alchemy. By cutting and pasting, sampling and remixing the reenactors’ words, the two tracks of each interview are synthesized into a single rambling whole. Godville tells the story of a town whose residents are unmoored and floating somewhere in America between the past and the present, reenacting fiction and life.