For a work that brings together the two sides of the same coin that is Irish Republicanism and Northern Irish Loyalism, the black wall that divides the two screens of Roderick Buchanan’s feature-length film installation without comment is a silently knowing piece of symbolism.
Commissioned in association with the Imperial War Museum, Buchanan’s piece charts a pair of Glasgow flute bands’ participation in two ideologically opposed marches. While the Black Skull Corps of Fife and Drum travel to Londonderry to celebrate the 320th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of the city, the Parkhead Republican Flute Band commemorate the Easter Rising in Derry during 2010.
With no narration, and with the sound wilfully flitting between each film in the style of censored UK news bulletins of the 1980s, at first glance this seems to be a pair of community away-day rituals. With the screenings flanked on all sides by photographic portraits of the members of each band that lends them the air of football cards, Buchanan neither judges nor asks questions, but opts instead for a form of anthropological reportage. Only when you read the statements from each band on the wall do the events’ full historical contexts become clear.
Neil Cooper, The List, July 2012
Legacy, Imperial War Museum, London (Installation, Film: 80 mins, photography) produced by Ulrike Smalley & Roger Tolston. This ‘War Artist’ commission was set within the context of Operation Banner the deployment of the British Army in Northern Ireland 1969 – 2007.