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Dickinson & McCarthy: Greenwich Degree Zero

Exhibition organised by Mead Gallery in association with the Arts Council Collection

Sat 1 Oct-Sat 10 Dec 2011

Rod Dickinson & Tom McCarthy’s Greenwich Degree Zero offers visitors to the Mead Gallery an opportunity to witness a multimedia installation about a would-be nineteenth century act of terrorism.

On 15 February 1894 a French anarchist named Martial Bourdin was killed when the bomb he was carrying detonated. The explosion took place on the slope beneath the Royal Observatory in London’s Greenwich Park and it was generally assumed that his intention had been to blow up the Observatory.

Dickinson and McCarthy re-imagine Bourdin’s act as a successful attack on the Observatory, reworking newspaper reports to fit their version of events. They also present a film made with a hand-cranked Victorian cinematic camera that captures the moment of the Observatory’s destruction and photographic images that depict the building’s ruin. Audiences are invited to piece together this episode and to participate in the making of a history through the processes, institutions and technologies that authenticate the narrative of time.

Greenwich Degree Zero is a Beaconsfield Commission, acquired by the Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London in 2010.