In Chapter 50 of artist Jamie Shovlin’s Widows and Orphans the world is changed by war, colonial revolt and politics.
In 2016 artist Jamie Shovlin spent time with the University of Lincoln’s School of Film and Media, Photography department and School of Social & Political Sciences as part of a residency run by Lincoln Voices. The result of this residency is a work called Widows and Orphans that retells history through fragmented chapters.
From multiple versions and revisions of the school textbook A History of the Modern World, Jamie took the underlinings and highlightings from generations of readers as the basis for the chapter scripts. He worked with a group of young people in Lincoln to record the narration. Months were spent editing the visual material of the films to create a multi-layered experience.
Widows and Orphans: Chapter 50 script read by speakers:
The emergence of communist China by the end of 1949 was among the most momentous of postwar events.
The colonial revolt in Asia and Africa, having built up pressure in the years after the First World War, reached a veritable flood tide in the years after the Second. In the Moslem states communism made little headway, but nationalism grew in intensity as did the self-consciousness of the Islamic world as a political entity. The Arab countries were aroused most by the emergence of a Jewish state in Israel. To the Arabs, Zionism seemed like a new form of Western invasion of the Middle East.
So the cataclysm carried on. But even a cataclysm, as already intimated, is not a time of downfall only. Mountains crumble, but others are thrust up. Lands vanish, but others rise from the sea. So it is with the social cataclysm of our times.
Individual lives are fragile. But man is such a tough animal, and a very widespread one. It is highly probable that if everybody in this world could vote on the question, provided only that literally everybody were included, as many or more would say that the land is rising as that it sinks.