Erika Tan: Persistent Visions

Erika Tan: Persistent Visions

25 February – 24 April 2005

Persistent Visions is the culmination of Erika Tan’s research in the Moving Image Archive at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum.

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The piece uses super 8 film shot by individuals and families, who were once stationed in the former British Colonies from Malaysia to Kenya and The Suez Canal to Hong Kong. Cine cameras were used to record a personal response to family and working life in a particular place and time. By interrogating the vaults of stored material culture Tan explores the latent meanings and messages, unearthing personal and subjective histories hidden by the grander structures of empire and questioning the ‘inherent’ content of the medium of archival film.


Having grown up in a commonwealth country, Singapore, and with her background in anthropology, Erika’s interest is in museological issues such as the nature, status and classification of archive collections. Her work is often informed by specific cultural, geographical or physical contexts – exploring different media to excite and confront an audience.

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