Duncan Mountford

The Office of Arcana

An installation of six corridors, at the end of each corridor can be seen a further space visible through the window of a closed door. These further spaces are interiors of abandonment, littered with the ruins of activities.
(Dimensions given below are for each individual model interior, as the layout of the corridors depends on exhibition space. This work is being developed with further interiors relating to the overall themes)

The model interiors are based on a specific series of themes that tie the rooms together into an interrelating series of concepts. These concepts relate to speculative histories of the contemporary connections between the magical occult and the development of autonomous fighting vehicles (drones for example). Initially these seemingly unrelated épistemes were chosen for lecture that dealt with producing false knowledge, but research has uncovered connections, especially with regard to the cultural (in the widest sense) meanings of weapons (the tank as a demonstration of power) and the nature in which such machines are regarded as operating away from human agency. It is the intention that images of the model interiors, associated drawings, texts, etc., will form the basis for an artist’s publication at a later juncture.
A second set of ideas reference (UK) science-fiction television programmes, and science-fiction films, of the 1960’s and 1970’s (the artist’s formative years). The main theme is that of hauntology, the ruins of a future that did not take place. Overlaid over this are indications that industrial/financial philosophy that once seemed central to globalization also contained the seeds of its own destruction.

Formally these model interiors also refer to museum dioramas, puppet theatres, (and to narrative sculptures to be found in European sacred spaces). There is equally the influence of the numerous abandoned industrial and military buildings to found in Taiwan, spaces that exert a fascination as fragments of unknown narratives. The model interiors thus map elements of autobiography, with memories of the UK interweaving with current experiences of Taiwan.


100cm, 90cm, 100cm (Height, Width, Depth)
Paper, Mixed Media, Light
Installation, Figurative
All artworks from Duncan Mountford
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