In Chapter 30 of Widows and Orphans by artist Jamie Shovlin nations, public opinion and unified systems are explored.
Jamie’s work explores the tension between fact and fiction, particularly in the personal interpretation of texts and how different generations’ readings reframe them. He is interested in the journey a document takes from point of origin into the hands and minds of a contemporary generation.
Widows and Orphans, created for Lincoln Voices and 1215 Today, uses the secondary school textbook A History of the Modern World as source material. The highlighting and underlining left behind by previous readers was used to create a script, employing a cut-up editorial technique from annotated fragments of multiple editions of the textbook. Jamie’s residency was hosted by Lincoln’s School of Social and Political Sciences and supported by the School of Film and Media. In producing Widows and Orphans, the artist worked with a group of young people from Lincoln to bring the annotations of an earlier generation of readers to life in a series of short videos.
Script read aloud in Widows and Orphans: Chapter 30:
Public opinion was more of a force in 1850 than in 1800.
The idea of the nation-state has served both to bring people together into larger units and to break them apart into smaller ones. A nation-state may be thought of as one in which supreme political authority somehow rests upon and represents the will and feeling of its inhabitants.
There must be a people, not merely a swarm of human beings.
Territorially, it meant the union of pre-existing smaller states. Morally and psychologically it meant the creation of new ties between government and governed. The ideal was to create a perfectly solid and unitary political system.