TUNNEL VISIONbones tan jones
There is delicate magic in the speed of foot, and breathe
To be overtaken by the birds that soar above, there's time to portal your vision into theirs, what
do they see?
They're on the hunt, they know their prey. They have their mission.
- bones tan jones
OCT 8 - DEC 21 2022
QUEERCIRCLE is proud to present ‘Tunnel Visions’, a solo exhibition by bones tan jones, their first institutional presentation in the UK.
‘Tunnel Visions’ will be a site-specific installation within QUEERCIRCLE’s main gallery space. A 4-metre high, central monolith will pay tribute to a 2,500-year-old Anckerwyke Yew tree, which tan jones encountered during a six-day walking pilgrimage. Beginning at the Silvertown Tunnel, a new road tunnel being constructed directly underneath QUEERCIRCLE, the pilgrimage took tan jones to Stonehenge, Salisbury. Large flags will also adorn the space, their designs commenting on environmentalism and the legacy of land ownership in the UK.
tan jones’s pilgrimage began with research into ancient ley lines, looking into the significance of these natural energy markers which converge at Stonehenge. The construction of the Silvertown Tunnel, in close proximity to the ancient ley line of Greenwich Mean Time, poses a significant increase of pollution in the already over-polluted borough of Newham, fuelling actions by the ‘Stop The Silvertown Tunnel Coalition’ campaign group.
During their pilgrimage, tan jones connected with the environment and its ecosystem, singing for the healing of the land with the people they met. It was a journey of discovery, generating poetry by tan jones, recorded in a written diary and audio notes. The pilgrimage ended at Stonehenge on the summer solstice, astrologically significant to the foundation of the ancient site. Here, tan jones met with Stonehenge Heritage Action Group (SHAG) and its FLINTA (Female, Lesbian, Intersex, Trans and Agender) following, both of whom are protesting the planned construction of the Stonehenge Tunnel via the ‘Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site’ campaign. The artist recognised a synergy between the tunnels and their respective campaign groups and sought to celebrate community with like-minded people. Planning to present audio visuals from their experiences, the accidental loss of digitally captured imagery shifted tan jones’s focus to the tradition of sharing knowledge through storytelling, song and oral testimony, which will be heard in the exhibition.
The central monolith will be crafted from clay, electrical cabling and tree-climbing rope in knot formations learned during tan jones’s time with SHAG. Like roots sprawling out from a tree, there will be cabled headphones playing re-weaved folk songs, spoken word and testimonies from SHAG members and ‘Stop The Silvertown Tunnel Coalition’ campaigners. Whilst still being connected to the monolith, the individual headphones will encourage solitary meditation on the beauty and destruction tan jones witnessed. Visitors will be guided from the smoggy city to the countryside, two opposing forces, each under the same threat of destruction due to urbanisation. The audio will also build and become an extension of both campaigns as the exhibition continues, with new recordings from visitors and tan jones’s peers added week by week, offering their own insights.
Lining the walls of the QUEERCIRCLE main space will be six large-scale, hand-drawn and enlarged silk-screen flags with motifs and figures representing each day of tan jones’s pilgrimage. Areas such as the now abandoned Heathrow action camp; the Virginia Water royal park; the grounds where it is said the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 opposite the Anckerwyke Yew Tree and the Chobham Common nature reserve, will be depicted. In the course of their pilgrimage tan jones was forced to trespass through, or take large detours around, many of these areas which are now privately owned or protected by law.
During the exhibition, the installation will become a living organism and a community-led campaign space for public programming, choral performances and workshops led by tan jones, SHAG and the ‘Stop The Silvertown Tunnel Coalition’.
On the exhibition, QUEERCIRCLE founder and director Ashley Joiner said:
“The Silvertown Tunnel currently being dug under our home will increase pollution in the borough of Newham and disproportionately affect marginalised and working-class communities.
- Poor air quality in the borough kills 96 residents every year.
- Airborne particulate matter in Newham is 35% above the World Health Organisation (WHO) safety standards.
- One in seven of the population are exposed to levels of Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that is above the UK limit value for human health.
Plans to build a tunnel underneath Stonehenge will undoubtedly have similar health implications as well as desecrating the earth at one of the world’s most honoured and ancient sacred sites. There is therefore an urgent need for QUEERCIRCLE to use our position as a dedicated space to nurture the health and wellbeing of our community, building solidarity between these urban and rural groups to support and elevate their campaigns.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
bones tan jones (b. 1993, Liverpool) is a London-based artist and performer whose spiritual practice presents an alternative, queer, ‘optimistic dystopia’. Through pop music, ritual, craft, sculpture, alter-egos, and moving image, tan jones weaves a mycelial web of diverse, eco-conscious narratives which aim to connect, enthral and induce audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Selected recent commissions, performances and exhibitions include: ‘Queer Earth and Liquid Matters, Serpentine Galleries, London (2022); ‘Milano Re-mapped’ at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2022); ‘New Worlds’ at Somerset House, London (2022); MU, Netherlands (2022); Shanghai Biennale (2021); Athens Biennale (2021); Underground Flower Offsite (2020); Serpentine Galleries, London (2019); IMT Gallery, London (2019); Mimosa House, London (2018); ICA, London (2018-2020); Cell Project Space, London (2018); Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2016-17).