Gadd’s work,”Navigating Stevenson”, is about dislocation.
People and things wrenched from their contexts draw her attention
and provoke her curiosity. Photography, which is her artistic medium,
is another such act of removal - images taken from objects and given
a sort of locomotion, like ghosts. Finally, she creates, in the
computer, a virtual context for these images of objects, an evocation
of their first place.
is the nature of relics to be disconnected in this way. And, like
the medieval church, the museum becomes the scene of their veneration,
the occasion of meditation upon the tenuous threads of imagination
that might reconnect them. Scholarship too attempts this reconstitution
and to undo the barbarity of dismemberment in which the museum has
life lived and one recounted can be subject to the same dislocation.
For this reason, Sara Gadd has been attracted to the case of Robert
Louis Stevenson and his voyaging in the South Seas. Stevenson drew
connections of memory and moral understanding between the South
Seas and the Scotland of his youth and young adulthood, in order
that dislocation should not lead him to the Heart of Darkness or
to a fantasy of the Golden Age.
Gadd places objects and images connected with Stevenson’s
travels in a representation of the place and time that once they
shared, created within the computer. In that virtual environment,
they hover between fact and dream, as did Stevenson and as does
© Dr James Lawson, University Of Edinburgh 2002